Care and feeding of your reindeer

They are inquisitive
It was a lot of trial and error
I started with two, had eight…
it snowballed from there
It is tough at times
There are days you just don’t love your job
There is good and bad, but a lot more good
She’d walk onto the stage all by herself
then walk back to me
or hang out with the cellists
She loved the violinists
They died on the same day
Just old. Can’t stop that
They went and laid back-to-back
and passed away on the same day
But they lived a good life, that’s for sure

Direct speech in the WNY.FM article Reindeer in Hamburg. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

The Geometry of Happy Children

One of the lines began standing out
demanding attention
It was the line that ran along the side of the nose
approximately where the bone ends
and the cartilage begins
I actually grew annoyed with this line’s insistence
and erased it
hoping to quiet its demands
but it only added significance
and so I drew it back in

Paper never forgets though
and that line kept its heat and at times
I could see little else
Looking back and forth from mirror to paper
the line started taking
its place on the surface of my skin
When my eyes weren’t on that line
but focused elsewhere
it would begin a trampy little dance for attention
in bright magentas and blues until my eyes
would dart over to see
and back to flesh it would go. . .

Taken from an interview with the artist Ian Ingram on the blog Venetian Red, 23 May 2011. Several punctuation marks have been removed, along with one ‘and’ at the end of line 1. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

A night at the opera

Big ideological statements
Giant snakes
One expects to get one or the other
One is rarely deprived of both.

The means are the simplest
As the audience files in
a small army of white-dressed people
are placidly picnicking.
As the music starts
they strip off their clothes
and paint each other blue.
Yes, it sounds weird
but the Ring is weird.

Sometimes they are slaves
Sometimes they are even inanimate.
The gods all sport matching platinum hair.

They don’t try to fool us
and yet something about them
is perfect anyway.

Picked out of a review of Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold on the blog Likely Impossibilities. The word ‘are’ replaces ‘seem to be’ in line 8. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

Flower battle

Enter and stand
Enter, leap at, roaring
Back slowly off

Roar, shake arm, roll on back
Eat earth, throw rocks
Rush at and past opponent

Avoid, show back

Leap at opponent’s back

(Without looking) avoid
Turn to face opponent

Catch head with rear hand (without looking)
strike head with forearm

Rise, stagger, roll on back
Roar, shake arm, leap on head

Avoid, back off
Roar, pursue
Leap at roaring

Grasp head with forearm
flick rear arm in arc
strike downward blow

Sag, moan, rise
leap and crush in bear hug
lift in air

Draw dagger
Stab in chest

Fall on back

Advance calmly, inspect corpse
Back off

Basic fighting movements: a section of the perang kembang (flower battle) from a puppeteer’s handbook for the study of wayang kulit or Javanese shadow play. As found in On Thrones of Gold, ed. James Brandon, (Hawaii 1993). Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

The Legacy

The photos show a pool with a slide
and a sand pit – an idyllic family setting
separated from the gas chambers by just a few yards.
His grandmother told the children to wash the strawberries
because they smelled of ash from the ovens.

“So you ask yourself, they had to die. I’m alive.
Why am I alive?
To carry this guilt, this burden
That must be the only reason I exist
to do what he should have done.”

Goeth was played by Ralph Fiennes.
“I kept thinking this has to stop
at some point they have to stop shooting.
If it doesn’t stop I’ll go crazy right here in this theatre.”
She left the cinema suffering from shock.

Both she and her brother chose to be sterilised.
“When my brother had it done, he said to me ‘I cut the line’.”
Seeing his father’s childhood home he broke down
kept repeating the word “insanity”.

Taken from an article in BBC magazine about the descendants of high profile Nazis, 22 May 2012. Some words and phrases omitted for scansion. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

Enchanted Doll

How to play with the nude doll properly:
Pose it, bend and move its body without force
Hold it gently and move the limbs in their sockets
carefully in the direction of the slits
To clean it, wipe with water or any household cleaning agent
Braid, brush, wash or even dye its hair
Dress and undress it carefully

Dropping the doll
Submerging the doll in water
Forcing the joints to move in the way they were not intended
Pulling the joints out of their sockets – it loosens spring tension
Handling it roughly
Taking the doll apart

I cannot ship you new body parts

From the repairs page of the Enchanted Doll website. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

Liber Amoris

To have crossed the Alps with me
to sail on sunny seas
to bask in Italian skies
to have visited Vevai and the rocks of Meillerie
and to have repeated to her on the spot
the story of Julia and St. Preux

She’s a strange, almost an inscrutable girl
It is all over, and I know my fate
its giant-shadow, clad in air and sunshine
my courage failed me
its enormous but graceful bulk
You are struck with the point of a rock
The truth is, I never saw anything like her

From Liber Amoris or the New Pygmalion by William Hazlitt, 1823. The text comes from the very end of Part II, ‘Letter the Last’, and the beginning of the first letter of Part III. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.