Friday, August 31, 2012

A visitor

I was on the metro home when the phonecall came. The connection was bad and I couldn't work out what Marian was saying. The word I heard was ortiga (stinging nettle). But why would having nettles in the house be such an issue? Anyway, I hurried back.

Ah, lagartija. A little lizard. The old magazine and tumbler trick worked to catch her, and I then liberated her into a vacant lot down our street. I wish her well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Auf ein Frollein

Gott Amor zieht die Pfeile aus dem Köcher.
Er schießt. Ich bleib betroffen stehn.
Und du machst so verliebte Nasenlöcher...
Da muß ich wohl zum Angriff übergehn.

»Gestatten Sie...!« Du kokettierst verständig.
Dein Auge prüft den dicken Knaben stumm.
Der ganze Kino wird in dir lebendig.
du wackelst vorn- und wackelst hinterum.

In deinem Blick sind alle Bums-Kapellen
der Sonnabend-Abende, wo was geschieht.
Ich hör dich Butterbrot zum Aal bestellen -
Gott segen deinen lieben Appetit!

Ich führ dich durch Theater und Lokale,
durch Paradiese in der Liebe Land;
du gibst im Auto mir mit einem Male
die manikürte, jleine, dicke Hand.

Aus weiten Hosen seh ich dich entblättern,
halb keusche Jungfrau noch und halb Madame.
Ich laß dich sachte auf die Walstatt klettern...
Du liebst gediegen, fest und preußisch-stramm.

Und hinterher berenden wir im Dunkeln
die kleinen Kümmernisse vom Bureau.
Durch Jalousien die Bogenlampen funkeln...
Du mußst nach Haus. Das ist nun einmal so.

Ich weiß. Ich weiß. Schon will ich wieterschieben -
Ich weiß, wie die Berliner Venus labt.
Und doch: noch einmal laß mich lieben
          Wie gehabt.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Current Favourite Sentence

Evidently he had been staring at a shadow; no one was sitting in the corner.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Unexpected Insertions

This certificate (a bit too big for my scanner, so offered here in two halves), awarded for achievement in Socialist Competition between working groups, and with a space for you to fill in your own name, was folded up into the front cover of Volume One (of thirteen) of the Complete Works of Mayakovsky. I've spent a dedicated morning unpacking the six boxes of books that arrived from Cambridge last week, and surprises keep on appearing.

Monday, August 06, 2012


She was young, she was pure, she was new, she was nice
She was fair, she was sweet seventeen
He was old, he was vile, and no stranger to vice
He was base, he was bad, he was mean
He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat
To view his collection of stamps
And he said as he hastened to put out the cat
The wine, his cigar and the lamps

Have some madeira, m'dear
You really have nothing to fear
I'm not trying to tempt you, that wouldn't be right
You shouldn't drink spirits at this time of night
Have some madeira, m'dear
It's really much nicer than beer
I don't care for sherry, one cannot drink stout
And port is a wine I can well do without
It's simply a case of chacun a son gout
Have some madeira, m'dear

Unaware of the wiles of the snake-in-the-grass
And the fate of the maiden who topes
She lowered her standards by raising her glass
Her courage, her eyes and his hopes
She sipped it, she drank it, she drained it, she did
He promptly refilled it again
And he said as he secretly carved one more notch
On the butt of his gold-headed cane

Have some madeira, m'dear, I've got a small cask of it here
And once it's been opened, you know it won't keep
Do finish it up, it will help you to sleep
Have some madeira, m'dear, it's really an excellent year
Now if it were gin, you'd be wrong to say yes
The evil gin does would be hard to assess
Besides it's inclined to affect me prowess
Have some madeira, m'dear

Then there flashed through her mind what her mother had said
With her antepenultimate breath
"Oh my child, should you look on the wine that is red
Be prepared for a fate worse than death"
She let go her glass with a shrill little cry
Crash! tinkle! it fell to the floor
When he asked, "What in Heaven?" she made no reply
Up her mind, and a dash for the door

Have some madeira, m'dear, rang out down the hall loud and clear
A tremulous cry that was filled with despair
As she paused to take breath in the cool midnight air
Have some madeira, m'dear, the words seemed to ring in her ear
Until the next morning, she woke up in bed
With a smile on her lips and an ache in her head
And a voice in her ear 'ole that tickled and said
Have some madeira, m'dear

Christian Thompson (1978- )

Australian artist. More information here.