Terror and Holiday

Hey there Internet. The posts have withered of late, and for the 3-and-a-half of you who regularly visit, I do apologize. It has been a busy fall. I’m involved in several lawsuits, and the depositions take up a lot of my days. Also, my reluctance to wear pants at said proceedings proved prohibitive in facilitating any chance of expedited resolutions. This, of course, made scheduling an issue, as I’ve added a second nap to my afternoons, aided by double doses of NeoCitran and St. John’s Wort. Additionally, the last story I posted, “Clerical Aciurgy,” required tireless hours of research at McGill’s Royal Victoria Medical Library in Montreal on inguinal orchiectomies, which took its toll. Also, I added a page dedicated to llamas, which took some time and a lot of research as well. I like llamas. The two l’s amuse me.

I had to return Montreal to retrieve my possessions, most importantly my collection of Irving Layton bobbleheads, a bad cheque for $2500, and my spatulas. There’s a lot I’ll miss of Montreal, like bagels, 3AM, the convenience of depanneurs, and the French. But there’s a lot I won’t miss, like bagels, 3AM, the convenience of depanneurs, and the French.

My last couple of years in Montreal were spent up in the Plateau, and the first thing I saw each morning as I left my house was the cross atop Mount Royal. As a result, each morning my first day-weary thought was of A.M. Klein. There are worse ways to start one’s days. I’ve thrown some scribbling of my own down the bottom, beneath the Klein poem that is Montreal to me.

The Mountain
by A.M. Klein

Who knows it only by the famous cross which bleeds
into the fifty miles of night its light
knows a night—scene;
and who upon a postcard knows its shape —
the buffalo straggled of the laurentian herd, —
holds in his hand a postcard.

In layers of mountains the history of mankind,
and in Mount Royal
which daily in a streetcar I surround
my youth, my childhood —
the pissabed dandelion, the coolie acorn,
green prickly husk of chestnut beneath mat of grass—
O all the amber afternoons
are still to be found.

There is a meadow, near the pebbly brook,
where buttercups, like once on the under of my chin
upon my heart still throw their rounds of yellow.

And Cartier’s monument, based with nude figures
still stands where playing bookey
Lefty and I tested our gravel aim
(with occupation flinging away our guilt)
against the bronze tits of Justice.

And all my Aprils there are marked and spotted
upon the adder’s tongue, darting in light,
upon the easy threes of trilliums, dark green, green, and white,
threaded with earth, and rooted
beside the bloodroots near the leaning fence—
corms and corollas of childhood,
a teacher’s presents.

And chokecherry summer clowning black on my teeth!

The birchtree stripped by the golden zigzag still
stands at the mouth of the dry cave where I
one suppertime in August watched the sky
grow dark, the wood quiet, and then suddenly spill
from barrels of thunder and broken staves of lightning —
terror and holiday!

One of these days I shall go up to the second terrace
to see if it still is there—
the uncomfortable sentimental bench
where, — as we listened to the brass of the band concerts
made soft and to our mood by dark and distance—
I told the girl I loved
I loved her.

Minced Oaths (cont’d still)

61. I detest ice cream. I hate its smug celebratory entitlement,
its conceited indifference towards its bovine mothers,
the way it so effortlessly socializes.

62. “His wife went into contractions.” “Is she pregnant?”
“No, no.  She’s merging two syllables of adjacent words
into one by synaeresis or, more loosely, by elision.”

63. After the bar, they went back to her apartment.
As he climaxed, he could sense her disappointment.
“This must be what it’s like to enjoy soccer,” she whispered.

64. “Mendellev’s a hack,” he declared
as he reorganized his elements alphabetically.
“My uncle invented the pie chart.”

65. It took three hours to find an open pharmacy.
She tore into the pregnancy test kit and shoved the stick
under her tongue. Soon she’d know.


Henry Orwell was self-medicated, because Henry Orwell had fears, superstitions, and idiosyncrasies. Among the things he feared, of which there were many, were children aged 3 to 7, catfish, sloops, Ugandan nationals, medium sized coffees, and bowling shirts. His superstitions, of which there were many, varied from the familiar black cats, walking under ladders, and umbrellas opened inside, to the unfamiliar and entirely contextual picking up dimes, reading in a kitchen, and consuming apples in July. Among his idiosyncrasies, of which there were many, included a compulsion to touch his chin each time he had a bad thought, an addiction to the number 3, and, well, the aforementioned fears and superstitions, along with the ordered and strange manner by which he lived his life. It was because of these reasons, and a few others, that Henry was hesitant to finalize his eHarmony profile.