augury doggerel

Sunday, November 28, 2004


I avoid the stores until I have no choice. Today, my toe comes through my left shoe and my best pants drag threads and my jacket is too light for this cold. So we go, my walking fortitude and I, to the stores. Now I have four solid shoes and six unfrayed legs and enough down to hold me. And no more stores, no more floor walkers or window dressers, no racks of prestressed, no submerging aisles. No gloves � I break before we find gloves � but I swear I'll grow long hair on my hands.

Friday, November 19, 2004

First Snow

Mashed potatoes! Fresh cheese! Shivering fish! Toothpaste bristles! A clean-shaven sloth!

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Can't sleep, up reading, searching the net, taking notes. A map with all our street names changed: Teufels Br�cke, where we play in the woods, Gutenberghain und Gutenbergdenkmal, the Feuerwache I walked past tonight, our house on Steffensweg, and Adolf Hitler Strasse cutting across town. By chance, I see tonight in 1938 was Kristallnacht in this town. The old synagogue down the street is now a music school. In good weather, when the windows are all wide open to the street, you hear students working at brass and woodwinds, teachers beating time.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Shower Scene

I'm still naked. The black cat -- Mister Beast, Doctor Cat, Doctor Teeth, Mister Biter, Little Cuddles, Crazy Boy � sprawls on my shoulder with Superman arms out the back and rubs spit and whiskers into my cheek.

He's big now, but he has a faint purr, a tiny kitten peeping mew. His mother was a voiceless Russian Blue, an Archangel Cat, and his father was something from the woods with teeth. If you forget, you scream and blood is dripping from your hand and you want to kill him. He looks at you with close-set yellow eyes without knowing what happened.


A boy on the tram in hood and baggy pants and headphones. He's going out but he's already there: he sings the headphone song that everyone sings and moves his hands, all hippity-hopitty I figure. Remember, we're in Poland. But like poor kids everywhere, he puts on the blackface and has at it. And hasn't it always been this way? At least since the days of Stefan Petchit, "The Shuffling Serf," and his celebrated Volga melodies, poor kids have got themselves up like interlocutor and imagined themselves admirable and in charge.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


The clock on the tower at the train station is round and pale over everything. If you look closely, many people here believe, you can tell the time of day.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Whites of Their Eyes

The man putting on weight in the corner with his financial paper has an admirably pasty complexion. He's pale, baby powdery, pale PowerPoint blue.

Me, my skin from the inside lights up red, reveals my position to cool wenches. I try to unfluster, read backwards, think of anything, think of China down there, make it go away, put down my insurrection, imagine us all naked, but it's my skin I'm aware of. Don't look up.

I look up, they look down.

The man walking outside, she must have knitted him that hat, fluffy pastels, but she's there so he's under it, a miraculous grim white.

Me, I do my best scarlet goblin, and still they won't scare off. I'm all amusement. They make me breathe big full lungs brushing past.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


The woman and her horse friends ride in a fox hunt today, though the hunt has no fox: one rider goes ahead as their quarry. But etiquette calls for white breeches, something she doesn't have, so she borrows a pair from one of the men. I consider going along as a faux protester but instead stay home and write letters of protest to the editors of nonexistent newspapers.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Why Dangle?

When I see a film I ache and stretch and shift and I wish I hadn't had coffee, but tonight as I watch a Slovakian film with Polish subtitles I don't feel anything. Then the movie flattens and the screen is a screen, a shrunken square of moving light, and heads appear around me and the tram rumbles just on the other side of the wall. When the girl is levitating I fall out of myself. My disbelief, no longer suspended, folds in, collapses through the floor. I can hardly walk home.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Expatriate Act

Americans, if you're looking for a quick fix, fuck America. Come to Europe, get safe lives and long vacations, stop paying into a bad system, and, if you like, continue to vote in US elections from abroad.

But if you'd rather stay in the US, the problem is simple: good Americans are poorly distributed. The solution is also simple: people living in places like Massachusetts and California need to start moving to places like Florida and Ohio. Go take over Jacksonville and St. Petersburg, for example, and swing Florida. And when you retire, you'll already be there. Or go to Cleveland, which, as they say, rocks.

You've got four years to move and register. Otherwise, you'll continue to live like the Wal-Mart and NASCAR crowd wants you to live.


It's three in the morning, cold and clear and bright. I startle eight boars that grunt and run shoulder to shoulder across the field into the woods. I recite the names of the seven major stars of Orion. An owl hoots in a tree. A star falls. I make a wish and go home to this.