Feed the brute

Advice on Marriage to Young Ladies:
do not marry at all but if you must
avoid the Beauty Men, Flirts and Bounders,
Tailors Dummies and Football Enthusiasts.

Look for a Strong, Tame Man, a Fire-lighter,
Coal-getter, Window Cleaner and Yard Swiller.
Don’t expect too much, most men are lazy,
selfish, thoughtless, lying, drunken, clumsy,

heavy-footed, rough, unmanly brutes,
and need taming. All Bachelors are
and many are worse still. If you want him
to be happy, Feed the Brute. The same

remark applies to dogs. You will be wiser
not to chance it, it isn’t worth the risk.

(Suffragette marriage advice from Pontypridd Museum, via History Hit)

Of Monarchs and Milkweed

With the cacophony
of Interstate 35 traffic as a backdrop,
Tyler Seiboldt stands
on the side
of the freeway

with three other researchers,
scanning the ground.
Three ragweed, Seiboldt says to the group.
Litter one adds, Julian Chavez,

a research assistant
in the environmental science department.

Their seemingly indecipherable utterances
are the start of two days’ study
of plants along the interstate

from San Antonio
to Laredo
and back again.

(From Of Monarchs & Milkweed. Submitted by Ash Connell)


I am nothing. You are right.
I’m like someone who’s been thrown
into the ocean at night.

Floating all alone, I reach out,
but no one’s there. I have
no connection to anything.

The closest thing
I have to a family is you, but you
hold on to the secret.

Meanwhile, your memory
deteriorates day by day.
Along with your memory,

the truth about me is lost.
Without the aid of truth I’m nothing,
and I can never be anything.

You’re right about that, too.

(From Haruki Murakami’s Town of Cats, translated by Jay Rubin. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan)

Violets and motorcycles

I started thinking about smell,
the strange olfactory world,

and made a collection
of evocative aromas.

Rubber, naphtha, motorcycle dope,
cuir de russe, gasoline, ammonia.

Juniper wood, styrax, patchouli,
frangipani, amber, myrrh, geraniol.

Opoponx, heliotrope, nardo
spikenard oil, civet, coumarin.

Where does karanal stand
in relation to tuberose?

Or sandalwood to sage?
Don’t ask me.

(From Scents and Sensibility by Brian Eno, 1992. Submitted by Dale Wisely)

A brutal nadir

I took my seat
at the microfilm reader
and began to scroll
through the archives.

For the first hundred years,
as far as I could tell,
all that happened in America
was that various people
named Nathaniel
had purchased land
near rivers.

I scrolled faster,
finally reaching an account
of an early Colonial-era shaming.

On July 15, 1742,
a woman named Abigail,
her husband at sea,
had been found
“naked in bed
with one John Russell.”

They were to be
“whipped at the public post
20 stripes each.”

was appealing the ruling,
but it wasn’t the whipping itself she wished to avoid.
She was begging the judge
to be whipped early,
before the town awoke.

From How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. Submitted by Daniel Galef.

Echoes of Silence

Killed the family and went to the movies.
And nobody knows who he is.
Meat tenderizer and saliva
remove bloodstains.
Fornication changes its skin
Goodbye to the story,
memories they told me,
trees in autumn (three colors: white).
Join us at another place,
a polemical mile-high skyscraper.
Free wheelchairs available.

A selection of texts from the MoMA Member Catalogue, May/June 2014. Submitted by Howie Good.


The ocean is empty
again. Here and there

a small galaxy of scales
marks where a bluefin

swallowed a herring.
The victim’s scales

swirl in the turbulence
of the departed

tuna now bearing off at
high speed. Then each vortex

slows and stops. The sinking
scales gleam like diamonds

from a spilled necklace
then they dim. Finally

they wink out at depth.

From Quicksilver, Kenneth Brower, March 2014, National Geographic. Submitted by James Brush.

Wardrobe Mistress

My mother is ninety and likes
To wear a nice dress.
But she is tiny.

Size ten, and only five feet tall, she likes
Colour, nothing too clingy.
And needs a collar.

She would also like some nonslip
Ankle boots that are
Size four and a half.

Please help.

Nobody seems to cater for
Small, slim people of a certain age
Who are not terrifically flexible.

Do not want low necklines.
Do not like black and beige.

Taken from the “Wardrobe Mistress” column in the Sunday Times’ Style Magazine, 29 September 2013. Submitted by Kirsten Luckens.