10 July 2008

Letter 2.33

Your Bones [1] arrived last night and found a resting place -- no longer need they stalk the musty corridors leading to the offices and minds of musty publishers in search of a reader (not quite blinded by the must, although it makes him sneeze a lot). I was glad to find, again, sweet Carmen V. Paka [2], though I haven't yet found any reference to that famous Mexican bandit, Pancho Sila [3]. Did I steal Carmen from you, or did you steal her from me? She also occurs, rather obliquely, in A Foreign Retreat, the old piece I was having across Asia. Since then, by the way, I have finished several other books, but since there is no more room on my skin to tattoo them they have had to remain part of my oral tradition. Except, of course, for the collection of Letters which I hope you have received by now.

Well, if your diet is keeping you healthy what more can it do? Anyway, it's certainly good to avoid, as much as possible, the stimulation-soporific cycle of Sinhalese food. I don't know what amino acids and B complex contents are, never having been introduced, but they sound valuable, and I'll no longer allow anyone to rape my white rice and white sugar of them if I can help it. But can I help it? Is it my fault? Obviously not -- monks are not rapists -- we take what we get, virgin dark rice or a whore of a Nestomalt tin, or else we fast (weekly or monthly, as much or as little as we like). In other words, I envy the purity of your diet, but regret that in Ceylon even the lettuce comes both cooked and curried, which is better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. How does one get out of this confounded rabbithole? The next stringhopper will be dedicated to you.

Betimes, here's something to tide you over, Mr. Wuthy Intalocketer:

All night I lay entwined in gold
so tenuous it seemed unreal
embracing what I could not hold
caressing what I could not feel.

All frail she kept in sleep a lone
and chartless dream while what she held
held me in keep. I might have flown
apart were I not grounded, celled,

Solidified. Yet when I tried
to free my pale schemed heart she kept
me bound and flightless by her side.
Reality, I found, was debt.

All frail she slept, and undefined,
but in the night I lay entwined.

And sumpin' else:

The goose that laid the golden egg
died looking up its crotch
to find out how its sphincter worked.
Would you lay well? Don't watch.


[1] Worthy Bones -- what became our novel – Hum.
[2] WB's Jewish St, Joan -- a pun on the Pali
kamma vipaka: 'ripening of karma'
[3] A pun on the Pali
pancha sila: the Five Precepts of Buddhist morality.

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