Friday, 15 August 2003

In Castle-town at the salty docks
the pi­rate rats sit on the rocks
and peer about the piers in search
of a cer­tain long­shore­man known as Lurch.
Who has of­ten been known to pro­vide
some cheese to these rats?on the side.
It is easy to find him, you?ll know him on sight
in every tav­ern he is ready to fight
on­ly two gapped teeth are left in his face
his hair smells like sea­weed, his nose a dis­grace.
Most folks will tell you his mind ain?t all there
But if you men­tion it to Lurch he?s too dumb to care.

Yet when it comes to un­load­ing a ship new to port
Lurch is the strongest, I have to re­port.
Crates full of spices and Indian teas,
bar­rels of whale oil straight from the seas,
bales of rich cloth and in­gots of gold -
all man­ners of won­der from a ship?s hold.
Along the way some bits fall in his pock­ets
small ru­bies and sap­phires and gold­en lock­ets.
Many weeks lat­er when those ships have gone
he?ll take his booty to a well-known pawn.
When he en­ters the shop his pock­ets are crammed;
by the time he leaves he?s been roy­al­ly scammed.

The greedy-eyed pawn­bro­ker has known Lurch for years
and this strange friend­ship is good for his ca­reer.
When the big oaf spreads his loot on the ta­ble
the pawn­bro­ker eyes it and starts with this fa­ble
?These ru­bies are gar­nets, the sap­phires are glass
this lock­et, ain?t gold, ?tis noth­ing but brass!
I wish you?d done bet­ter By Gad and By Cor!
I?ll give you two dol­lars and not a cent more!?
Lurch pon­ders this in his pon­der­ous way
then takes the mon­ey and goes to the bay.
He us­es one dol­lar to buy a cheap beer
af­ter he drinks it he walks to­ward the pier.

With the last dol­lar he buys bits of cheese
and feeds the pi­rate rats — who are might­i­ly pleased.
For though Lurch might be short on good looks and morals
a bit slow in the head and with hands tough as coral
In Castle-town at the salty docks
he has his friends — the rats on the rocks.
They wait pa­tient­ly as he un­loads the ships
and wres­tles new car­go with grunts and strong grips.
The rats don?t judge him with con­tempt in their eyes
they just ap­pre­ci­ate the cheese he sup­plies.
And so would you too if you were a rat -
though Lurch is an id­iot, he?ll keep you quite fat!


Thursday, 14 August 2003

i’m bust­ing my way through more of the top 50 sci-​fi/​fantasy list. three books in two days. i’ve al­so ap­plied to a few more jobs — in chica­go, bloom­ing­ton, cleve­land, white­land, in­di­anapo­lis. two sec­onds ago the fedex guy de­liv­ered my tix to my Notre Dame games — Michigan State, the game against USC where i will re­ceive my na­tion­al cham­pi­onship ring, and the Monogram Club game against BYU. i’ve com­plet­ed all of the ma­te­ri­als to be a state cer­ti­fied sub­sti­tute teacher and i’ve been run­ning late­ly with phil. last week­end i was up at my aunt and un­cle for their garage sale. they made over $1k in one day. al­so hung out with my cousins a bit and saw American Wedding, which pret­ty much sucked — but i didn’t have to pay for it so big whup.

my life is an ex­er­cise in busy te­di­um. the rea­son i haven’t up­dat­ed is be­cause no one cares to hear about te­di­um. to­mor­row though you may ex­pect the next edi­tion of Castle-town. i’ve al­so bare­ly be­gun a short sto­ry ten­ta­tive­ly ti­tled “Convenience Charge.”

a mil­i­tary max­im: when in doubt, emp­ty the mag­a­zine.


Tuesday, 12 August 2003

I fi­nal­ly got around to see­ing Adaptation, which has been rec­om­mend­ed to me for about the past year as a flik I should see. It was pret­ty good, I was amazed by Chris Cooper, im­pressed with Nicholas Cage but not re­al­ly with Meryl Streep. As an added bonus, the love­ly Judy Greer was in the film as well. I be­lieve I have a slight crush on her.

It is a movie about mak­ing a movie about mak­ing a movie about flow­ers.
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Miz Grumblewort

Friday, 8 August 2003

In Castle-town in the grop­ing slums
where rats hope for food, for crumbs
there is a house, a hov­el dark
of toad­stools and crum­ble­bark.
Lives in it a hag of ter­ror fame
Miz Grumblewort is her fear­some name.
Her eyes are yel­low, her teeth are green
her warts are hairy and quite ob­scene
her cat is black and very cun­ning
the sight of it sends most folks run­ning.
For they know the sto­ry I?ll tell
when once Miz Grumblewort was a girl named Nell?

Nell was young many years ago
she laughed at sun, she laughed at snow
her eyes were green and very bright
her hair was yel­low her teeth were white.
She had a kit­ten of pump­kin hue
with a ring on its tail and eyes of blue.
She would run and play with girls or boys
and was not shy about shar­ing toys.
Her fa­vorite place was the can­dy store
with its sweet smells and paint­ed door
and it was here one fate­ful day
that Nell came to eat and play.

The store­keep had a sur­prise this time
a can­dy toad from an ex­ot­ic clime
Nell?s eyes lit up as the took the treat
eat­en, it went straight to her feet
then the tin­gling left her toes
and she felt some­thing grow on the tip of her nose.
A tiny wart with one thin hair?
From a can­dy toad? This was not fair!
Nell tried oils and po­tions fine
then fire and even tur­pen­tine
de­spite all she did the wart grew and spread.
Nell be­came a witch to keep her­self fed.

The old­er and larg­er her hairy wart grew
The less Nell was the girl we once knew.
She turned to dark arts and grew quite thin
and be­came Miz Grumblewort to kith and kin.
Her kit­ten be­came a cat black as sable
and now that we come to the end of this fa­ble
of Castle-town and its grop­ing slums
where rats hope for food, for crumbs
Remember next time when you try strange can­dy
make sure to keep a doc­tor handy
or you might end up with Grumbleworts curse
you could get warts or some­thing worse!

Castle-town Mark I

I seem to be bet­ter at telling sto­ries than any­thing else in my po­et­ry, every­thing else seems a bit too forced, where­as telling sto­ries comes a nat­u­ral­ly. I don’t re­al­ly have the in­cli­na­tion to write long things like nov­els or even short sto­ries, so in­stead I am go­ing to work with what many pompous peo­ple re­fer to as ‘dog­ger­el.’

Since mod­ern po­et­ry is not re­al­ly ap­pre­ci­at­ed by Society At Large, I want to write things that are eas­i­ly ac­ces­si­ble by those folk. In or­der to ac­com­plish this I have de­cid­ed to start with so-called ‘children’s lit­er­a­ture.’ More pre­cise­ly fa­bles, or frac­tured fa­bles in my case. I sort of have Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes in mind, but I want to make up my own sto­ries in­stead of retelling fairy tales.

Thus, I have come up with the Castle-town Idea.
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Thursday, 7 August 2003

Minutes ago I fin­ished read­ing Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is, un­doubt­ed­ly, one of the best sci­ence fic­tion nov­els I have ever pe­rused. It makes no bones about its sta­tus as al­le­go­ry [which I, like Tolkien, have cor­dial­ly dis­liked for some time]. But it does not strike me as an al­le­go­ry about hu­man­i­ty as much as it is for hu­man­i­ty. The sto­ry is about uni­ver­sal po­ten­tial. It al­so works as a good ac­com­pa­ni­ment to the film.

Sir Arthur de­serves his knight­hood for Contributions to Literature from this book alone. The writ­ing is su­perb, con­cise, and poignant. He is able to keep a theme run­ning for over three mil­lion years by the use of a sim­ple sym­bol and a re­mark­able grasp on ba­sic hu­man im­puls­es. Perhaps hard­est to ful­ly ap­pre­ci­ate is Clarke’s in­ti­ma­tion that an ex­tra­so­lar en­ti­ty is re­spon­si­ble for the the suc­cess of hu­man­i­ty. Although it could very well seem in­sult­ing to stan­dard man-ape that we are mere­ly an ex­per­i­ment, Clarke some­how man­ages to con­vince the read­er to be proud that we are an ex­per­i­ment — most­ly be­cause we are a suc­cess­ful one.

This is def­i­nite­ly a book I plan on pur­chas­ing at the next avail­able op­por­tu­ni­ty.