Does cottage cheese taste like vomit so old its got maggots breeding in it.
“And there, he lay, for hour after hour, listening to recordings, and then, according to his own accounts, drifted through his memories, searching for people and places that had brought him happiness, fulfillment.”
“It would take a man from the outside years to fit in here. It would take a decade of hanging around helpless among the plazas, navigating the stinking dark lanes in an attempt to make sense of his surroundings. And if he stuck around too long, his grave would be marked among the many who had come, and lost themselves here, the English, the Normans, the Persians, the Turks, and more recently, the Bengalis, the Punjabis and the Marwadis. Or if it were to his liking, be burnt in the Hindu manner and let his remains be washed away in the same river the leather mills emptied their filth into, and depressed high school students would jump into, and fishermen would find buffalo calves and deformed monkey babies in their nets.
The stalk of that flower had withered, had left behind, in the wake of spring, a red brown corpse, that would scatter dead pollen, if shaken. The children stared at it, eyed it in the manner of veterinary-zoologists, and in a language of their own making, expressed concern over its glowing wounds.
Meer Saheb had not yet taken the measurements needed to determine if it was the right species, but his investigations into the properties of child bearing plants had brought a crazed appearance to the living room, and parts of the kitchen and the porch. Kanti Bai had spent hours cleaning the remains of the mandrake that had burst out squealing from the womb of an old peepal tree, and on feeling particularly shy and out of place, had died shivering in the bath tub. Amidst all, Badri Prasad, the incorrigible money man, would often barge in, and announce, in a hasty undertone, the cost of each undertaking to the melancholic man of science.
Those indeed were the best days of summer though.
An Egyptian cat had been found perfectly preserved by workers laying out the new railway lines, desecrating in the process tombs and temples and lovers’ haunts in shady groves.
In the midst of all this note taking, Fanoos had not yet found a plot or a means to see a narrative any where. He spent hours instead, observing nature, as the masters advised, lying hours on his belly watching the buffaloes in the fields, climbing up mango trees, and waiting for the koel to start its incorrigible cooing. And then, the men in the trench coats appeared out of nowhere, and began surveying the land out of pure spite.
“A man is entitled to forget himself!”
Last night the Emperor’s guard raided the offices of the Tarsus Collective, a group of non conformist thinkers who were long wanted for sedition. Among their possessions, was found the corpse of a sacrificed girl, later identified as the missing vestal virgin, Fallopia. On being tortured, they confessed to a conspiracy against the Empire. The royal college of priests has predicted a good harvest for the Nile Valley, an year free of any civil strife. The danger,this time, comes from the waters. Or at least that is what the small intestine of a fat cow had to say.
No wars except for the ones on the frontiers, with tribes that are too dumb to negotiate. The populace is too weak and hungry to revolt. The patricians have taken to sublime debauchery, and are getting rather inventive at their games, leaving them with little time to plot against the Emperor.
I write this in the public library on Capitoline Hill, the swan quill sticks to my clammy hand (I’m going to have my pupils take dictations from now on) and I am done for the day. I had great trouble recollecting my name and my face, especially those gross gestures I am so capable of. (A man is entitled to forget himself!). But other than that, it has been a fine day. I generally prefer to spend my nights this way, in the cold, alone.
A brief review of a tune I’d set up as an alarm on my desktop, that never failed to rouse me to a benign state of wakefulness, when the sweet molten dappled sunlight from the garden would warm my eyelids, and my thoughts would dwell, for a while, on Miss B- .
(Maybe its not a good idea exposing my silliness to the world, but what the heck.)
“And I was free like the wolf I dreamed of, had lost all memory of men, was licking my wounds tenderly. Softly treading on the Siberian snow, I slipped in among the pines. My sweet shadow and I are one now. “
-From Badbaksh Miyan’s diary of his Russian journey
(A piece written ages back. When he was so naive, it makes one blush at the remembrance.)
Okay- So here’s something I scribbled the other night. I’ll update it every day till it satisfies me. Perhaps, working under public supervision might make me want to finish it. I’ve never done this before, but then again, I feel like most of my writing degenerates inevitably into conversations with myself. From what I notice, and what I’ve been told, I try too hard to fit in visual details.
DIS IS SO SLOPPY. :(
“He turned up at my place one odd day, why I still don’t quite know.
I led him to my living room, and we chatted about old times like two wretched old cats pissing against the same wall.
What star was I born under?
Had he heard of Richard the third?
Our conversation got us nowhere.
When he left, I trembled at the recollection of what he had proposed to do.
Other men would have wanted to help, but I am a cold soul.
Woman gives birth. And man yearns for death.* It all makes perfect sense.
After, I drove out to the beach, and let the waters caress the spaces between my toes.
I let the sun fill my eyes, and thought, in passing, of how nice it would be, to be forgotten.
After a while, the moon sank like a stupid piece of shit into the waters.
Something stitched my eyes shut.
And I slept.”
*Beg pardon for this crass generalization. But sentiments expressed in all posts here are perhaps not shared by the author.
“The last time I was invited for a talk at the Smithsonian, I had’nt brought my notes along, and I thrilled them with irreverent outbursts, and pithy quotes, as much wit and sarcasm as I could handle.
They listened, my beloved audience ,taken in by my aura. It felt as if my eyes, my nose, my nostrils, my neck, were all part of the story I told.
I let them talk back, dodged skilfully the filth thrown at me, and tried my best not to get heckled.
The lecture was about domestic life, quite specifically the role smells play in the kitchen.
Again and again, I tried to bring it back to our cook, and how he held our family together, with his constant bitching about, and the prompt rebuttals, how, in particular he ritually starved me, helping me cut down on all that flab. You could tell I bore, and still bear that as a cross.Every time I crave for a chew…
‘Could you please tell us what this is all about, Mr. Laymann?’, yelled out someone from near the exit.
In the guise of a lecture I was actually reading out to them my first short story, something I’d managed to put together in a waiting room somewhere. (Somehow waiting rooms always turn me on like hell, in a very kinky way, pulling apart at all the screws that hold together my intellectual self.)
For about an hour,with simile, adjective, metaphor and every other weapon in my arsenal, I assaulted them with all the education I’d ever had.I took great care to explain that I’m actually a historian-in-waiting, an unpaid flatterer for a client in the past.
I went on about how inspiration is like the occult, how it hits you when it isn’t supposed to.That worked. The moment I let out the word ‘occult’, we had instant shush. I was relieved. But then, while I was reading out my story to them, I realized that I was kidding myself.
Some days after the talk, which as all talks go, went around in circles, a young man with a face ripe as a peeled peach comes up to me, and says,
‘That day was special for me.You led me on through the nine circles of hell.Like that Dante poem.I felt as if I was transported.To another world.’
This is not how normal people talk.He was clearly an admirer.
(Young men must be told, rather emphatically, that talking literature, with someone you want to get into bed with, is very often not the smartest thing to do. )
And I reply,’I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m paid to talk shit. You liked it?’
‘Wasn’t it all about the dark underbelly of existence? The society of the mad poets, all that angst…the,the’,and then,unbelievably,he quoted me,’You hate love,you mad old prick,I so,so hate your guts.’
‘He’s gotten me by the balls,there,hasnt he?’,I said to myself.
The truth is, the poor thing was so besotten with my story, he’d internalized it, assimilated every bit of it.He’d clung to bits of it like there was no tomorrow. The odd part is, I’d put so much of myself into the story, that I could see he’d already begun to imitate me.
He looked all over town for derelict waiting rooms, he found unused tissue paper and scrawled on them furiously, with a 9 cent Ball pen, and then, without making sure whether it sounded nice or made sense or was uplifting or kinda nice, he read it to a select group of imbeciles.
Over the years, I let him into a few personal secrets, and he churned out stories from them, he could pretend to be me, so well, that I’d stopped thinking for myself. The result was that, in a sinister way, I was letting him live me out, in words.
My fling with words didnt last all that long.After years of deliberation, I decided to scrap the story, and stick to the preface.
I’m more or less into gardening these days, I’ve built a house for the bees, and this summer, I’ll try to crossbreed grasshoppers and ants.
was the only tune we would dance to
Work. Makes you forget everything about.
Dreams. Who has time for them.
Work. Makes you dream work dreams.