Bubbly Creek

One long arm of it is blind, and the filth
stays there forever and a day. It is
constantly in motion as if huge fish
were feeding in it, or great leviathans
disporting themselves in its depths. Bubbles
of carbonic gas will rise to the surface
and burst, and make rings two or three feet wide.

Here and there the grease and filth have caked solid,
and the creek looks like a bed of lava;
chickens walk about on it, feeding,
and many times an unwary stranger
has started to stroll across and vanished
temporarily. The packers used to leave
the creek that way, till every now and then
the surface would catch on fire and burn
furiously, and the fire department
would have to come and put it out.

Once,
an ingenious stranger came and started
to gather this filth in scows, to make lard;
then the packers took the cue, and got out
an injunction to stop him, and afterwards
gathered it themselves. The banks are plastered
thick with hairs, and this also the packers
gather and clean.

(From Bubbly Creek on Wikipedia)

#FFF8E7

Cosmic latte is the average colour
of the universe.

Like Fraunhofer lines
the dark lines displayed
in the study’s spectral ranges
display older and younger stars
and allow Glazebrook and Baldry
to determine the age
of different galaxies
and star systems.

Their survey of the light
from over 200,000 galaxies
averaged to a slightly
beigeish white.

Cappuccino Cosmico, Skyvory
Big Bang Buff, Blush, Beige
Primordial Clam Chowder
Cosmic Latte, Cosmic Cream
Astronomer Almond , Univeige
Cosmic Khaki, Astronomer Green

Latteo means Milky in Italian
Galileo’s native language. It also leads
to the similarity to the Italian term
for the Milky Way, Via Lattea.

They also claimed
to be caffeine biased.

(From Cosmic latte on Wikipedia)

The Ladies’ Love Oracle

It will be too glorious.
Go to your ruin, if you will.
It is needful that he be very good; yes, in spite of delays.
He will love you for a month.
Yes, at a country ball.

Wait, you will congratulate yourself,
Do not be uneasy.
You would be wrong by appearing frank and open.
Your least virtue.

No, my fine lady; be upon your guard.
By a more careful toilet, without doubt.
He’ll be handsome, like your present one.
The future will teach you it.

You ought not to hope. Why not, if you love him?
Yes, from midday to midnight.
Could you do without it?
Many things are opposed to it.

By a skillfully-managed intrigue
Don’t wait for it, you’ll only lose time.
Yes, a hussar. Yes, all except one.
Thy wit equals thy beauty.

Continue to ignore him.
You must renounce the world.
Handsome body, but deformed mind.
He smokes his segar and forgets you.

Count no more upon it.
It is useless.

(Answers to oracle questions in Madam Le Marchand’s Fortune Teller and Dreamer’s Dictionary, 1863. Submitted by Lori Hahnel)

One of my hermits is moulting

What should I do?
Nothing. Moulters already
have to suffer from stress.
Disturbing them will make it worse.
Place a cave over them
to provide darkness.
Most will harden.

How do I distinguish a dead hermit?
Look for a claw in the shell.
The eyes should be hollow
and translucent.
The eyes of dead hermits
are dark in colour, just like
when they were alive.

How long should I wait?
You are better digging
up a dead hermit
three months later
than stressing one to death
that was alive and could
have surfaced on its own.

Why is my hermit being lethargic?
This is normal behaviour.
Offer protein and calcium.
There is not much else you can do.
Sometimes they experience
difficulty shedding
so they give up and drop.

(From Hermit Crab Paradise, April 2016. Submitted by Linda Goulden)

Which Of These Fires From The Fire Catalogue Would You Like For Your Birthday?

(#3) the perpetual house-hold fire?
(#4) consecrated fire taken from the house-hold fire and placed in the east side?
(#7) powerful, mighty fire?
(#8) the fire that destroys?
(#9) the classical fire, belonging to the world of men?
(#10) the old or ancient fire, the fire pertaining to the stomach?
(#11) the entwining fire?
(#17) the calm, peaceful, serene fire?
(#20) the luminous, pure, brilliant fire?
(#21) the fire who is the priest?
(#22) the great, auspicious fire?
(#24) the fire consisting of wealth, or of good things?
(#26) the fire which is ethereal?
(#27) the conveyor of virtuous persons to heaven?

. . .the fire of time?
the fire of hunger?
the cold fire?

the fire of anger?

the fire of knowledge?

(Fires conveying the sacrificial butter in the Sabha Parva of Mahabharata, via Variants of Agni. Submitted by Maya Surya Pillay)

Blind Man’s Bluff

It may be some days before
relatives or nursing staff
stumble onto the fact that the patient
has actually become sightless.

The patient ordinarily does not
volunteer the information
that he has become blind,
but he furthermore misleads
his entourage by behaving
and talking as though he were sighted.

Attention is aroused, however,
when the patient is found to collide
with pieces of furniture, to fall
over objects, and to experience
difficulty in finding his way around.
He may try to walk through a wall
on his way from one room to another.

Suspicion is still further alerted
when he begins to describe people
and objects around him, which,
as a matter of fact, are not there at all.

(MacDonald Critchley on Anton–Babinski syndrome. Submitted by Howie Good)

Humiliation

Body collapsing in on itself
A bowed head
Shoulders curling over chest
Angling torso away from others
Uncontrollable shuddering or shivering
Hair hanging in face, hiding the eyes
A downward gaze
A flushed face
Hitching chest
Eyes dull, lifeless
Pulling down a shirt hem
Hands clutching at stomach
Covering face with hands
Bottom lip or chin trembling
Whimpering
Throat bobbing
Arms falling to sides, lifeless
Uncontrolled tears
Flinching from noise or from being touched
Huddling, crouching
Neck bending forward
Movement is slow, jerky
Knees locked tight together
Cold sweat
Stumbling, staggering
Backing up against a wall
Sliding into a corner
Hiding
Hands gripping elbows
Pigeon toes
Sobs trapped in throat
Drawing knees up to the body’s core
Wrapping arms around self
Runny nose

(From The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, page 90. Submitted by J.R. Solonche)

The Famous Squib Case of 1793

Scott v Shepherd

A lit squib
was thrown into a crowded market
by Shepherd

and landed
on the table of a gingerbread merchant.

A bystander, to protect himself
and the gingerbread,
threw the squib across the market

where it landed
in the goods of another merchant.
The merchant grabbed the squib

and tossed it away,
accidentally hitting Scott in the face,
putting out one of his eyes.

From Wikipedia’s article on squibs, retrieved 12 September 2014. Submitted by Susan Taylor.

On the division of animals

More often than not, the linguist or anthropologist just throws up his hands and resorts to giving a list — a list that one would not be surprised to find in the writings of Borges.
George Lakoff

Those that belong to the Emperor,
embalmed ones,
those that are trained,
suckling pigs,
mermaids,
fabulous ones,
stray dogs,
those that are included in this classification,
those that tremble as if they were mad,
innumerable ones,
those drawn with a very fine camel’s hair brush,
others,
those that have just broken a flower vase,
those that resemble flies from a distance.

From ‘Other Inquisitions’ in which Borges writes of a strange way of classifying animals in an ancient Chinese encyclopaedia. Via Futility Closet. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.