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Mr. Bones October 31, 2014

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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These bones
is knit with
blood offerings,
throat slit pig
hung one long night
over the slow fire.

These bones
is bound by
food for crows,
a buzzard’s buffet
& marrow
for the worms.

These bones
come some tomorrow
is all what’s left
unless, unless
I speak these words
& you remember.

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Somewhere It Is Tuesday November 1, 2011

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, je me souviens, New Orleans, Remember, Toulouse Street.
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Tonight we have mimicked and mocked death.

Tomorrow (this morning) we go to our city in minature cemeteries to be with our dead, and then have lunch in their honor.

Somewhere else in America it is Tuesday.

These Bones October 31, 2011

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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These bones
is knit with
blood offerings,
throat slit pig
hung one long night
over the slow fire.

These bones
is bound by:
food for crows,
a buzzard’s buffet
& marrow
for the worms.

These bones
come some tomorrow
is all what’s left
unless     unless
I speak this poem
& you remember.

Halloween Lullaby October 31, 2010

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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It isn’t the mice in the wall
It isn’t the wind in the well
But each night they march
Out of that hole in the wall
Passing through on their way
Out of hell
–The Pogues

In the South October 30, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Flood, ghosts, je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street.
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A tale of old men and the sea, of old men and the south, of old men everywhere from Salmon Rushdie courtesy of The New Yorker online. To share the last lines is not really a spoiler, when the opening lines clearly prefigure the end. And it is the getting there from the first to the last that is the joy of this.

The observance of Halloween, that has become just another excuse to turn over the season aisles for new merchandise masks the deeper, darker meanings of the date our pagan friends call Samhain and which is tied to what our Mexican neighbors call the Day of the Dead. I have no fun plans for this weekend so I find myself contemplating the more serious associations of All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day. I don’t intend to be a killjoy because you have a costume and are bound for Frenchman Street and I am not. I probably spend more time than most people thinking about these issues, more time Remembering, so maybe its a good thing to grasp this spoke of the wheel a bit more firmly and with purpose.

So, to share the true spirit of this weekend here is brief excerpt of a wonderful story on Floods, Death and Ghosts, things which people in New Orleans know like no others. It is the tale of two old men that culminates in the Tsunami of 2004. What is remembered lives.

Senior did not like the Japanese word everyone used to name the waters of death. To him the waves were Death itself and needed no other name. Death had come to his city, had come a-harvesting and had taken Junior and many strangers away. In the aftermath of the waves, there grew up all around him, like a forest, the noises and actions that inevitably follow on calamity—the good behavior of the kind, the bad behavior of the desperate and the powerful, the surging aimless crowds. He was lost in the forest of the aftermath and saw nothing except the empty veranda next to his own and, in the lane below, the girls with the lowered heads. News came that D’Mello was among the lost. D’Mello, too, was gone. Perhaps he was not dead. Perhaps he had simply gone home, at last, to his storied city of Mumbai, on the country’s other coast, that city which was neither of the north nor of the south but a frontierville, the greatest, most wondrous, and most dreadful of all such places, the megalopolis of the borderlands, the place of in-between. Or, on the other hand, perhaps D’Mello had drowned and Death, swallowing him, had denied his body the Christian dignity of a grave.

He, Senior, was the one who had asked for death. Yet Death had left him alive, had taken so many others, had taken even Junior and D’Mello, but left him untouched. The world was meaningless. There was no meaning to be found in it, he thought. The texts were empty and his eyes were blind. Perhaps he said some of this aloud. He may even have shouted it out. The girls in the lane below were looking up at him, and the green birds in the golden-shower tree were disturbed. Then, all of a sudden, he imagined that across the way, on the empty adjacent veranda, he saw a shadow move. He had cried out, “Why not me?,” and in response a shadow had flickered where Junior used to stand. Death and life were just adjacent verandas. Senior stood on one of them as he always had, and on the other, continuing their tradition of many years, was Junior, his shadow, his namesake, arguing.

Vincent October 31, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Ah, Tim Burton meets Vincent Price. Does a Halloween vid get better than this? Nevermore!

Filth Licker v. Slash-mouth Woman October 31, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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We like our holidays here on Toulouse Street. My wife’s favorite is Christmas (and the decorations will be popping up around the house as soon as this weekend, I fear). Mine, however, is Halloween as the flood of short videos, etc. you’re about to suffer will testify.

Halloween has so many attractive aspects, not least of which is the Oddity of it all, American-style. None of this cowering around the hearth while the Wild Host passes noisily overhead. Instead we dress up our children in often ghoulish costumes, and send them out into the dark to collect candy from strangers. I will have no truck with people who think children should go out in daylight to be “safe”. Halloween is not about being safe, but rather the opposite. It is about handling our fear of the Other.

We’ve brought over most of our Others from the Old Country, where ever that may be. Ghosts, vampires, zombies, mummies: all of these as we recognize them have some root in the old fears of our ancestors. The Celts have a large part to do with this as Samhain, the original pagan holiday on this date, is a Celtic holiday absorbed into Roman (as in legions) Catholic culture, giving us Jack O’Lanterns and enough ghost stories to last us until dawn of All Saints. And as you might have noticed, we are also Eirephiles here on Toulouse Street.

It is fun to find some new ghoulies to think on come All Hallow’s Eve, and I have a new one now. The Filth Licker. The Japanese have swallowed Halloween whole like so much of American and European culture, but they’ve given in their own twist.

Monsters…are a more serious matter. They are indigenous [in Japan] and reputed to be everywhere. One is called Akaname, the Filth Licker, and he haunts dirty bathrooms. Using his long, lascivious tongue, he eats bathtub scum.

The Halloween season, then, is an opportunity to shine a festive light on the Filth Licker and his creepy kin. There are thousands of them, and collectively they are known as yokai, a word that is formed from the Japanese characters for “otherworldly” and “weird.”

I like these yokai. The Filth Licker is an easy headline grabber, but I also like the tales of Kuchisake Onna, the Slash-Mouth Woman. “This yokai is a shapely and well-dressed but violently insecure young woman who wears a mask over her monstrously disfigured mouth, which reaches from ear to ear and is bursting with teeth. First, she asks her victims if she is pretty. They, regardless of the answer, she slashes her young-girl victim’s mouth.

There there is the kappa: a short, green, flatulent monster with a tortoise shell on his back and a cup of water on his head, from which he draws his terrible powers. He likes to eat human entrails. Kappa are said to live in rivers, lakes, swamps and wetlands. To keep their offspring from playing in these dangerous places, parents over the years have told chilling tales of what an angry kappa can do. One can escape the kappa because they are unfailingly polite. If you bow to them, they will bow back and spill the cup of water than gives them there powers.

This is a fabulous bit of folklore, offering your basic Boogie Man warning about playing around water, and tossing in a lesson to be polite to boot. Strange how all of us kids behaved better with an appropriate dollop of fear in our lives. I’m not sure what message the Slash-Mouth woman is supposed to mpart, but she reputedly likes candy. If you run into one tonight the appropriate response is to toss a handful of candy as far as you can, and run like Hell.

Or she will Get You.

Happy Halloween. .

The Horror October 30, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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