There will be melees, brouhahas; no longer will there be the miasma of ennui. There will be affable moments, though ephemeral. It is the bizarre that I am going to relate to you my audience. I beg you that you allow me to travel to the unknown. Hesiod said, go to sea if you must, but only from mid-June to September—and even then you will be a fool. Everybody knows that one should not disagree with a man of the grape! But to the sea me must go, for it is in that theater that man truly illuminates his true merit. But what merit has man? We all know men are fools! They are sniveling lapdogs to folly. And they set sail upon the grand undulation willy-nilly; only to end up upon the sial carrion cussing Toscanelli and Zacuto, but still man does not glean from the putrid on the sands, for he still follows Da Gama around the globe. So I plead with
you. I order you. You must follow my trajectory…see De Messina’s
Crucifixion. You must be cognizant only of the objects that I paint for you!
Concentrate upon the criminals and only the criminals… do not let De
Messina’s tricky gull the trajectory of the eye on to the Christ. Be
obstinate! Look at the way they hang, their bodies elongated, contorted,
and in throes of excruciating pain. De Messina has captured moribundity.
in the final screams of the epiphany that man is no longer mortal, for even
on the cross moments before death closes the eyes there is still the belief
in immortality, which De Messina has depicted! With deep contemplation De
Messina’s emaciated criminals will metamorphose before our eyes into
colossal masts with heaving sails and you will know that what I have achieved
is a carrack. Its old timbers groaning and creaking will make the verisimilitude
of this wonderful carrack tangible for us. It is more real for me than the
engravings of Pieter Breughel. Though they are exquisite, they do not catch
the wind within their sails. The hull was deep and round, with forecastle,
with a framework for awing, the stern castle was high with a poop deck supported
on wooden pillars. A full-rigged ship, it was. A good ship! A castle upon
the sea! This worthy ship is in a state of levitation and this causes me
great distress. I must have equanimity! I am no longer of the corporeal world!
It is a perennial fear that drives me on to create; it is the fear of horror
vacui. To remedy this situation I will force myself to create an ocean. With
my forefinger I draw three undulating lines to illustrate my sea. It is now
more than a painted ship upon a painted sea. Now my ship sits buoyantly upon
the tranquil azure. Do you see it?
De Silva, that was his name. It had to be. It could be no other. And so it
was. A eupeptic fellow he was! De Silva...that was the name that set sail
a thousand and one souls upon a sea of desolation. De Silva had the grace of
Paris entwined with the prowess of Hercules and the acumen of Odysseus. He
did and I told everybody. He was gentle at times. He was and I told everybody.
He could be stern and mean when he had no other path to journey. He was and
I told everybody why this was so. De Silva had huge cathedral arms and marble
pillars that held him imperiously. He did and I told everybody. Once I compared
him to mighty Poseidon. The horse was he! The horse of the undulation! I shouldn’t
have, but I did and I told everybody. As I scrubbed the deck he passed me whistling
mellifluous. It was as though the sirens were serenading me. It was and I told
everybody around me of the wonder that emanated from him. He was the finest
Captain a ship could have. He was and I told everybody. Copper orb, fed with
prays and martyrs, burning sulphur and phosphorus with magnesium paroxysms
igniting iridescent dreams of bronze iron and the alchemist’s gold zinc
ephemeral explosions and implosions a dense blackness of scorched bones and
flesh. The morning star aimless like Anthony in the desert wanders through
the wilderness expelling demons, imps, and lunatics. The appearance and disappearance
into the simulacrum of death causes only disequilibrium. All is a charade.
Mendacity! Lies! Lies! Lies! From words, sounds, enumerations, emits the alchemist
will finally produce gold. The world will one day stop spinning and the sky
will spit like roasted beef upon the pyre. The scream of death from Jesus’ lips
can be heard entwined with the playing of Pan. And one day the rock will roll
over Sisyphus and flatten him! I quote Voltaire. An English, as a free man,
goes to heaven by whatever route he likes. It was off Cape Verde Islands that
De Silva winked solicitously at me. He did and I told everybody. The orb was
a golden coin and the sea a silk blanket. De Silva like father Moses stood
upon the quarterdeck and looked the leviathan in the eye. And I told all that
we would be safe in his hands. His huge smile illuminates me and bathes me
in tranquility. If it weren’t for Captain De Silva I would have cried
for home. But De Silva turned away from me. The undulation was as inebriated
and feral as a drunken Irish mick. And somebody had hidden the moon and the
stars. And the wind was the death cry of Christ going through the flagellation,
the crown of thorns, the nailing of hands and feet and the asphyxiation on
the cross. I gripped hold of the mast as though it was my crucifix and my salvation
for each lightning strike proclaimed the Day of Judgment. I am a sinner, I
confessed loudly to the God of the undulation. He understands. I didn’t
stand a chance. He concurs with everything that I say. He doesn’t have
to see the whites of my eyes to know that what I speak is nothing but veracity.
I was as helpless as a ship on a feral undulation buoyant only through the
grace of God.
Enough of these damn tales. O, god I wish somebody would take away this stained
glass of Saint Michael away from my eyes. Saint Michael with his sword of flames!
All that I can see is kaleidoscopic, iridescent angels and demons locked in
* * *
The cabbage is a strange fruit, a progeny of the European Brassica Oleracea.
It has neither the splendid color of the strawberry nor the exuberant taste
of the peach. It is a head that has not the character of the pear or the complexion
of a freshly plucked apple. It is an insipid, mundane dull green fruit. For
Juvenal the cabbage was the nadir for his futile sycophants! Even in the hands
of Sir Politic, it is nothing more than humdrum.1 No, Adonis hid behind a cabbage
and the Israelites did not long for the cabbage as they longed for the watery
sweet melon. In the mid-day sun the cabbage turns rapidly to putrid. One can
never become accustomed to the reek of the decomposing cabbage like they can
with the sweet-smelling pineapple. Its veiny skin peels back, until it reveals
its heart. And the heart is cold and worthless. A heart without feeling. The
heart is a strange fruit, a progeny of the European imagination. It has neither
the splendid color of the turnip or the exuberant taste of the spud. If fleshly
plucked its complexion fades with its beat. It is an insipid, dull red fruit.
In the mid-day sun the heart turns rapidly to putrid. One never becomes accustomed
to the reek of the decomposing heart. Its veiny skin peels back, until it reveals
its cabbage. And the cabbage is cold and worthless. A cabbage without feeling.
* * *
That’s what he was. A cabbage without feeling. He was thrown overboard.
He was a sniveling sycophant! He serenaded De Silva with his arsehole! A fine
flute it became under the moon and stars! Bloody mellifluous! Shitsmeared De
Silva won’t be able to sleep at night now his flunkey’s gone overboard!
Swept off his feet he was. Light as a feather he was! Never had a bad word
for anybody! Did a wonderful Queen Liz at Christmas! He was a fine singer!
More like a stabbing board! That sea that swallows seaman them seamen that
swallow semen. Hope the fishes devour him swiftly. May the devil be poked in
the eye! God have mercy upon his soul!
* * *
De Silva didn’t believe in death; he didn’t believe in life either—why
would he? He was in a state of perpetual limbo; tossed like the cabin boy upon
the wild undulations of time. De Silva was a demagogue of the finest order!
He was a paragon! De Silva was Captain for he made manifest that man was either
to be pampered or annihilated; and it was the latter that he was most steadfast
about. The marineros survived in a miasma of fear for they had no aegis, being
of the lowest order and so the noose was forever in their panorama; whereas
the grumetes existed in hatred and then there were the officials who thrived
on envy. De Silva discerned all. The obsequious marineros were plying for protection
through fear and De Silva encouraged the marineros to the abhorrence of the
grumetes whom existed precariously juxtaposed between the marineros and officials.
And so if a beating was in order, De Silva handed the whip to the grumetes,
knowing that they would perform the deed with great passion. He would pick
two of the grumetes to perform the duty, with the knowledge that all the spleen
that would be felt would be directed towards the elevated two. The officials
were sycophants, perpetually in the labyrinth of a plot to overthrow the Captaincy
of De Silva. De Silva engaged the marineros to spy upon the officials who themselves
spied upon the grumetes and nobody spied upon the marineros for they were either
inebriated or asleep.
De Silva knew that the
mutiny would not materialize for the marineros needed De Silva, as did the
grumetes. He even determined with great sagacity that
the officials would not revolt for they enjoyed their privileged consignment
within the social structure of the Pajaro Puerco. Though none of these groups
were deemed popolo grasso. Thus De Silva did not care if the marineros, the
grumetes, and the officials suffered through his obesity and flatulence. The
odor that was emanated from this man was tangible like that of the Thames,
a river of excrement. O what a sight on a busy Saturday night a thousand and
one dirty arses. He smelt of a thousand and one putrid decomposing cabbages
infested with the gnawing worm of the Lord! After every bowel movement the
worms that were defecated were collected and located within a jar to be placed
upon the bookcase within De Silva’s cabin. Juxtaposed between the Bible
and The Satyricon. In this world of magic nothing was given away easily. De
Silva was flagrant in his displays of shameful and opprobrious exhibitions.
These displays were only matched by the diseases that flourished upon his carriage.
From one night to the next, warts, fully grown, proliferated about him like
mushrooms in a dank wood. These cellular arrangements were complex and amazing
structures architecturally. Unlike the wart upon a common man, the warts upon
De Silva were perennial in life. The elevated hard skin of the verruca vulgaris
was a disappointment for it was benign. But the periungual was slightly pleasing
for it formed around De Silva’s fingernails, toenails, and extended under
the nail, causing him severe pain. Once the pain was so appalling he
threatened to cut the buggers off, meaning his fingers and toes! Tinea Versicolor
iridescent upon his integument. Impetigo painted pretty shapes upon De Silva
and the scars left by Ecthyma gave this canvas topography. But it was the
Butterfly rash that substantiated this pulchritudinous masterpiece. Through
his hemorrhoids De Silva could produce a fart as easily as shaking a hand in
welcome or deceiving a silly bugger out of his earnings. He profaned the instance
he exhaled to converse and his fart enunciated the lord’s name backwards
with amazing eloquence. If hell had not already Malacoda who could produce
a trumpeting manifestation from his anus at the drop of a hat De Silva would
surely have fit the bill. De Silva had the gob of Capaneus. There was no God,
only wine, more wine and food, an abundance of food. It is true to say he was
a terrible glutton and he was forever confabulating with his mouth cramped
with ham, peaches, and cream. There were no hors d’oeuvres, soup, main
courses, and puddings—it was all one sitting. His table was built up like
the tower of Babel. No fly or parasite was safe; they went down the hole too.
He was a factotum of the dung heap. He sprayed food like a priest with holy
water far and wide most benevolently, most officiously. He was as amorous as
a dog with two large dripping penises. And with the coquetry of a two-penny
whore he would flash his anchor for all and sundry. This flagrancy was performed
for both king and beggar! He was a philanthropist of the finest order! De Silva
sang ribald songs and was in perpetual motion down below through the lice that
proliferated in the subterranean depths of De Silva’s skivvies. De Silva
was as mendacious as a caged thief waiting for the gallows. He bullied, kicked,
and punched. He was cantankerous, pugnacious, and as capricious as the British
weather. An irascible man with no etiquette to speak of, who gobbed, belched,
scratched his warts and digged deep in his nose and arse for all to see and
he could not recite one line of the Lord’s Prayer. He subjugated all
with the judgment as the Yahweh of the Old Testament. He told all and sundry
of the time he broke the arms of his dearest in a port while she was in a state
similar to the carrack, inertia through being completely pissed, the old tart!
What he recalled the most was the feeling and sound of the snap. It was cathartic
almost. Though seeing the arm dangling loosely was bathos. He caused great
exasperation with his philippics against those whom believed in the Christ.
De Silva had never fulfilled a journey. A thousand ships lay sunk at the bottom
of the sea with the name of De Silva scratched into the wood.
* * *
Dunbar could not be Captain,
though he was francus homo, and traveled to all ends of the universe, and
knew men of property in London, Paris, Rome, Constantinople,
and Jerusalem. If De Silva sojourned in every putrid goal of the every splendid
city for potus et exlex, well then, Dunbar sojourned in every cathedral worthy
of veneration for the sin he committed. Dunbar was perpetually in flagrante
delicto, for every pious being is concupiscence. One can only attract the
devil if one knows of the devil. Sometimes, blindness is bliss. Dunbar was
being pursed by his own demon brought back with him from the Holy Land. It
was on the Via Dolorosa that Dunbar was tricked into believing that he would
see the footprint of John the Baptist. It was while smoking that he stood
before portas inferni and gave himself fully to his God. It was there also
that Dunbar picked up his shadow. Dunbar’s shadow went by the name
of Seth. A grotesque parasitic fly that obsequiously buzzed around Dunbar
with saccharine sycophancy. Dunbar could not escape this ubiquitous vulture.
He was domineering, superfluous, and extremely proficient in his unctuous
duties. He was procrustean incarnate. He was perplexing, flabbergasting,
and exasperating. He slipped from the ornate, the eloquent to the colloquial,
to the vernacular. He could converse with a king or a fool with ease and
at the same time and neither would know they were being led down the garden
path. He lifted the glass to Dunbar’s lip, cut the meat on his plate,
and unbuttoned his trousers on the way to the lavatory. When Dunbar’s
mouth was smeared with food, Seth with alacrity was there to clean the soiled
mouth. If Dunbar feigned illness, Seth would be there mothering, laying solicitous
kiss upon kiss upon Dunbar’s somnolent, clammy temples. Seth was there
before Mass and there after Mass. He sucked the life straight out of Dunbar,
leaving him flaccid and in a perpetual state of inertia. Seth had the movements
of a sylph and though his tone was sweet sounding it generated the feeling
of drowning, of being overwhelmed in bees’ honey and goats’ milk.
At night under the clear moon the numinous Dunbar would recite his prayers
most piously to the Lord the one God, for in the book it proclaims there is
but one God, that polytheism is an anathema to his people. And so Dunbar prayed
to the Lord, the one God and the Holy Ghost, Jesus the Saviour, the Virgin
Mother; Honoratus, Arontius, Fortunatus, Savinian, Januarius, Septimus, Repositus,
Sator, Vitalis, Donatus, Felix, and Felix the Younger. All worthy saints! And
after his prayers Dunbar would proceed to lock himself secure in his damp,
cold room where no light could penetrate or escape and perform with deep devotion
flagellation. But unlike De Silva, Dunbar took no joy from the whip.
With teary eyes and watery
nose Dunbar sauntered lazily to and fro without any real destination and
always with Seth one pace behind him. To Dunbar’s
traveling companions Seth was viewed as no more than a shadow with a funny
incongruous large nose. Dunbar was in a flux of fear and illness, which he
oscillated between with misery and pain. He was abhorred with an overwhelming
passion, but nobody knew why and nobody illuminated to him of this passion
that he stirred within his fellow companions. De Silva proclaimed once after
Mass that he would strangle the lanky dripping arseplug until the excrement
poured like wine from a casket from his arse and bile from his worthless
holy mouth. De Silva was most salient in his hatred for Dunbar and his melancholy.
Dunbar was accompanied by the music of his sniffling, which varied in tone,
cadence, and time. He had the face of a drowned whore’s arse and with
teeth black like the rugged rocks of Dun Laoghaire and his breath was like
that of a hard-working whore’s vital commodities but never having been
with a woman he would not have known. At the dinner table he was as welcomed
as the angel of death. Nobody could answer the conundrum: which was most
vile—Dunbar’s mouth or De Silva’s arse? They were the mirror
image of each other. It was a perplexing enigma, which nonplussed all and
sundry. Once a member of the crew wolf whistled at Dunbar’s mouth.
Dunbar came into a room with the same pessimism as the Christ entering Jerusalem
and when he sat it was as though the sword of Damocles hung over him. He
had same fatality, the same death wish as Apollonius of Tyana, forever questioning
authority, forever flaunting his piety in front of despots! It was true,
one night Dunbar in a panic stabbed his mother fifty-three times and then
threw her dead body down the well. It was only after three months of his
neighbors drinking the putrid water that they found the body. The heart they
never found. It is reported in the church chronicles that one worthless old
whore, three homeless children, five scavenging dogs, and one mangy cat were
welcomed by Saint Peter at the golden gates of heaven as a result of the
polluted water. If there had been a dog worthy, a cock, a snake, and a monkey,
then after a good thrashing Dunbar would have been sewn in a sack with a
dog, a cock, a snake, and a monkey, as was the custom for a culprit of parricide.
* * *
With diaphanous skin and lapis lazuli eyes, with the jack of clubs held as
a mirror to his reflection, Tancred sat brooding. With ethereal beauty his
eyes held the undulation like a lover despairingly. But an open wound they
for once fathomed those eyes possessed death, pestilence, and annihilation
indiscriminately. In those eyes one witnessed the snap of the neck, the bulging
eyes, the swollen
tongue, and the kicking of the feet. He proclaimed with great glee to all that
he urinated in the drinking water and wiped his excrement onto the food utensils.
Nobody believed he had perpetrated these nefarious needs. His eyes told other
stories. There was a single tear that hung perpetually to his left eyelash.
It was a melancholic tear that made manifest to all that Tancred was an innocent,
if there could be one, upon the undulation. None looked upon the tear, for
the tear was catholic. Within the flap of the mast Tancred would oscillate
between euphoria and sadness. If he were not racing up the deck, he would be
sat in the shadows staring into the darkness that reflected his soul. One night
his love turned her back on Tancred and he broke her neck, it was that simple,
he put his arms around her waist and she emitted a moan of love and he proceeded
to move his hands amorously up around her neck and he did it. He did mean to.
Man knows the pain and desires it.
* * *
The two vilest organs
possessed by man are his genitals and his tongue. They should with acumen
be an anathema to him, but he worships them fatuously.
He will smote his beloved on the demand of one or the other with a passion
of violence. One inebriates the other. I don’t know which is the most
damning of the two. Sometimes I think it’s the genitals and then I
witness the tongue in play and I change my mind. Though, I must admit I oscillate
between the two flippantly throughout an hour. They are as ugly as each other.
And I am not being glib! We need to pull out our tongues and cut the thing
off and the same with the genitals! One quick swoop and freedom!
* * *
Hipparchus the Arbitrator was finishing off the inscription upon the timber
that he had started soon after leaving dock. All were perplexed. Nobody had
the sagacity to impugn the erudition of this genius. On a galley there are
those who are forced to be the slaves and then there are those that pay.
Dunbar wept to the visceral Jewish Christ, Hipparchus the Arbitrator deemed
the cerebral Apollonius of Tyana as the true voice of the Gods.
He was conceited with his loquacity! A real windbag! He stood head and bollocks
above the rest. That’s the God’s truth! With fancy clothes, purples
of every variety, he would ostentatiously flash his mighty wad around the place
like some king. He would, the bugger! Once, De Siva screamed at him, you’re
working for the Law not Bacchus! He did not reply. He manifested his contempt
with the wave of his delicate hand. He was a fine gentleman worthy of any court
around Europe, I tell you that. He was forever illuminating his sophistication
with a flow of a mighty waterfall that showered all with his insights, and
we were dirty sods. That’s what he told us, anyway. Most men toil for
it, but this lofty fellow loitered into greatness, I tell you that, he stumbled
into it like a drunk into an obese lazy wife.
* * *
Seth was sleeping. When
he was awake he was forever dreaming; when he was dreaming he was always
didn’t know where he was. They didn’t know where he was. Nobody
ever saw him. It was one hallucination after another for him. Nobody bothered
to illuminate Seth. With his shaved head and a countenance that begged for
a kick in the pants he would follow Dunbar. Seth was well inured to the kick
in the pants. Seth, veulent affaiblissement jour. It was true; time was no
friend to Seth. Dilapidated he was and if death had a thousand and one doors
to enter, all were locked to Seth. He could not give up the ghost because nobody
would take the rag from him. Los gallows fueron hechos para el desafortunad.2
If this be true, well then, a strange irony made Seth lucky, for he would never
know the weight of his own arse.
* * *
Le Blanc was dead.
The journey was halfway
from the end and halfway from the start. Nobody knew where they where. Not
even De Silva and he was Captain.
And the time was completely lost. De Silva had twenty-one ampolettas, whereas
the great Magellan had eighteen. But with great misfortune he had lost the
lot. How this came to happen, nobody could answer. And so Mass became the ampolettas
for all and all attended zealously. And so all were in harmony disorientated,
but extremely pious. Le Blanc didn’t seem to care. He sat and impassively
watched the undulation.
Erastus with great dexterity shuffled the cards.
Erastus is as blind as Tiresias. He can see the past and future but not the
present. But he does not possess huge pendulous bristols. Erastus reeks of
cabbages. It is a smell that is indelible like a bad nightmare that cannot
be erased from the memory. Unless, that is, if you had the memory of Erastus.
He could not remember a thing. It was a sieve! The problem was not up in the
box! No, up there everything was working just dandy. It was the lies! The mendacity!
The charades! Erastus was a lair. A bag of filthy wind! A lair of amazing complexity!
He concocted labyrinths of fabrications worthy of Daedelus. But like the wings
of Icarus, once Erastus’s lies were caught near the heat they fell apart
astoundingly. He couldn’t tell the truth; even if truth came up and took
a large piece of his arse, he would not tell the truth. It wasn’t that
he told untruths believing them to be truthful; Erastus was as false as they
come. And it was because of this that he was forever on his knees for he could
not stand upon his lies. De Silva was an Adonis! Dunbar in the slavery of Seth!
Hipparchus a thief! Tancred an Angel and Le Blanc vivacious and full of
* * *
the table the manifestations of horror were articulated upon the grimaces of
the card players.
Under the blistering sun sat De Silva in between the signs of Capricorn and
Sagittarius. Next to him sat Dunbar in between the signs of Scorpio and Libra.
Caught between Virgo and Leo was Tancred. Shuffling was Erastus between the
signs of Cancer and Gemini. Hipparchus the Arbitrator swatting flies sat in
between the signs of Taurus and Aries. And finally Le Blanc sitting between
Pisces and Aquarius dead to the world.
* * *
Seth when awake ran in
great pain to escape the midday sun for his skin was peeling and his sores
and hemorrhaging profusely. It was as though Seth suffered from Dystrophic
Epidermolysis Bullosa. Seth’s skin was like a weathered leather body
suit that seemed to slip from his skeletal frame. This leathery integument
was superfluous. But still Seth had a job to accomplish. Which he did with
temerity and doggedness. He ran for drinks, for food, for the amusement of
the card players. Inevitably Seth was abused, kicked, farted, and spat upon.
Tancred took great pleasure in the practical joke of trapping Seth like a
hare in the jaws of a crafty fox and violently rubbing his shaven head and
the blood clots and scabs, reopening the wounds. All laughed. Hipparchus
the Arbitrator proclaimed that it was right and proper that Tancred should
Seth, for Tancred held the last spring of life in his azure eyes and Seth
was putrefying and his carrion brought the odor of death to everybody.
* * *
On the first night of the odyssey under the blanket of a tempestuous maelstrom,
when the undulation was a crescendo and the azure a blackness, dense like the
scorched bones and flesh of martyrs, all the gold and silver were tossed overboard.
It was not a performance in facsimile with Crates who tossed his patrimony
into the undulation to make manifest his religious conviction. It was as though
fathers were throwing their sons overboard to the leviathan. Some wept, some
cussed God, and some nearly went with their treasure. It was a sad sight that
night. It was here that the seeds of contempt for the undulation were sown.
It was inevitable that something would be brought against the undulation for
the nefarious misdemeanor. The carrack rolled and rocked and fear of drowning
overwhelmed all. Some had visions of God and other contemplated following in
the footsteps of Petronius and having a lazily, exuberant death for they too
wanted to compose verse and idle. But once the ransom had been paid the ship
found tranquility. The undulation slept. The leviathan was no more!
All felt as though they had been fleeced. In the throes of fear and disequilibrium the cargo became the currency. The
history of the coin was eradicated as are the defeated in battle. Somente os
vencedores serao recordados.3 Who remembers the men Alexander put down like
scabby dogs? The card game had to go on.
* * *
All abhorred Erastus.
Like a crusader in the streets of Jerusalem he fleeced all. This is how
he became banker. A heinous profession, but all knew that the bankers on
would after the apocalypse end up dwelling in the mansions in paradise
as they did on earth. And so all coveted Erastus and sought to be Erastus.
never have to work again. And all abhorred work.
cherished card, he proclaimed to all, was the queen of spades. She was his
Athena. Her beauty mesmerized him. If she had not
given him her aegis his throat would have been a second toothless mouth.
* * *
once after Mass saw the Owl that sat upon his shoulder and advised Erastus
given the spare hand perpetually. Hipparchus the Arbitrator stated that
it was Nature that allowed Erastus to win the game of cards and thus it was
and proper. And all concurred with Hipparchus the Arbitrator.
* * *
brooding in complete silence; one could barely hear him inhale and exhale.
was an idiosyncrasy he shared all to himself. It was not that he was selfish,
but the rest of the company was dreadfully garrulous. Tancred’s taciturn
manner was a sign of his contumaciousness. Some were extremely verbose
while others were flowery with words and were eloquent about the most mundane
happenings, such as eating and defecating. All took great pride in the
knowledge that they could converse on any number of topics. One could always
perpetual cascade of words throughout the night. The marineros were inarticulate
except when in the act of defection. Hipparchus the Arbitrator in the still
of night would sing to the crew. Pulchra comis annisque decens et vultu
dulce quiescenti basia blanda dabas. Si te vigilans non unquan cernere
precor, iugiter lumina nostra tene.4 Not one understood
what he meant, but all agreed that he had a beautiful voice. An Angel,
said some. Others
said he had the voice of a lady of the stage. But all concurred it was
as a mocking bird in the winter. He would tower above the marineros like
the edifice of Babel. Whereas the crew was small and burly, Hipparchus
was tall and skeletal. Infuriated by the asinine questions, the ignoble
responses, their lack of schooling, he would repute that the moon was the
God. It was a mighty arse! No, it was not cheese, nor did a man live up
there. It was an onerous task, but he was never futile. They gathered around
gesticulating, pointing to the moon and shaking their heads, flabbergasted.
When one proclaimed that God should be ashamed of himself, he would tap
the one warmly with encouragement and if another said a spanking was in
Hipparchus the Arbitrator would proceed to pinch a cheek and wink at the
bright pupil as Aristotle must have done with Alexander. He told them of
God and the
Devil, but like the undulation and the azure he could not part the conjugation
for the crew. However much he endeavored to dichotomize he was futile.
Hipparchus the Arbitrator exasperated De Silva for the crew were lazy, slothful, perpetually inebriated, grand farters, and when standing around the gentleman listening like children, they never lifted a finger in toil, but one or two could be discerned with a finger lodged up his arsehole. De Silva violently proclaimed to all that
one day after Mass he would throw the lot of them to the leviathan. The leviathan
awake. They were scurrying to and fro, always in the way, forever pestering
the rest of the card players about this and that, filled with plague,
their pants full of excrement and piss stains and the smell they emanated
like a whore’s vulva after a busy night, and De Silva wished that
their deaths would be extremely unpleasant. He proclaimed that they should
with each other’s pricks and man the riggings. Iza el trinquete.5
And he would scream most vehemently, Dad vuelta!6 But still
Hipparchus the Arbitrator
endeavored to illuminate to them the tenacity of the man who held the
rope that suspended the morning star.
* * *
Seth and the currency
have two things
in common: both have no heart and both peel so that the skin unfolds
in the mid-day sun.
For cabbages became the currency. The European Brassica Oleracea.
The manifest was on its way to Valparaiso in the Newfound Lands.
* * *
burnt to a crisp! It’s he’s own damn fault. Always
running around like some dolt. Hear! Hear! I don’t think
going to last much longer, spoke Erastus quietly. Nobody questioned
it was futile,
pissing in the wind. Well, if that is the case we best get him
to quicken up the
pace a bit. Yes, double the work. Double the load! Move, you
donkeys! Work! Scrub!
No slacking now. Seth passed life precariously, with uncertainty,
fear, and trembling. De Silva with great contempt, and when he
shouted to all, They would do well to hang themselves!
I get the best out of my lads, for every beast is driven to the
pasture with a kick up the arse!
* * *
Pythagoras forbids the
consumption of the
heart of Bacchus was devoured by Zeus, for after tearing
the boy Bacchus to pieces,
the Titans gobbled the flesh, but left the heart. In the
chaos did the cabbage become gold and silver when the boy was swept
The undulation took him. The Mortal was devoured by the
immortal thus the immortal
became mortal for the mortal became immortal.
* * *
We are all
of the undulation! That’s the bollocks truth! Aye, bet my last
tooth on it! But I just know we are of the undulation, for that’s
all that comes out of me! Did you see him go down? Did that, floated
down like some pagan! Face down towards
hell! They say that De Silva only walks and talks now
because he will float on his back like a good Christian! That’s
the origin for the limp! A stone up his arse! He’s ready for king
the truth! He is a pious Catholic is De Silva!
For him being Captain, it was up to him to perform Mass
through there being no Priest on the Ship. He did this
overwhelming passion and
devotion. With great gusto De Silva led the way with
the singing of
the Psalms and his
voice was most salient when declaring himself a worm
before the Lord. Hitherto the boy had performed the Pajes
now it was
went through the ritual for all concurred that God would
be better pleased by the
voice of the innocence.
* * *
How the moon was mooned.
Hitherto, the moon was the eye of the night.
De Silva saw all of the marineros defecate.
The words of Hipparchus the Arbitrator reverberated within the empty shells
of the marineros. At first most thought it was the belly aching for food,
but slowly all came to realize it was the idea of God showing his arse. With
exasperation the idea of returning the moon spread throughout the carrack.
Surreptitiously the grumetes organized the event. Food would be needed to
keep all awake and full of life. Prunes were purloined and passed freely around.
In unison, when God once again mooned the carrack, Seth and the marineros
their pants and proceeded over the rail forward and aft. De Silva could not
believe his eyes, seeing Seth and the marineros in the act of defection all
him. Someone was to blame and so the cook was ordered to clean both sides
of the carrack.
The Helmsman was flogged for being a glutton and devouring all of the prunes
ordered by a constipated De Silva. A hundred and fifty good ones connected
with that scoundrel, while De Silva did a dance on the deck.
* * *
The round table
upon the tolda was a grand table. Some of the marineros said it came from
Camelot, but this was rebutted, for though it was grand enough to be the
King Arthur and his Knights relived their tales, it was slightly smaller
than that wondrous table. Others said it was found floating in the undulation,
this was repudiated for the wood was strong mahogany and not oak and thus
it would not have been buoyant. Thus the origin of the table was an enigma.
so after Mass was performed and oblation given the pilgrims would settle
at the table and proceed to play and inevitably Erastus would ensue to win.
Silva sat with a grimace upon his face. Erastus said nothing for he did not
want to disturb the Captain. But Dunbar with great acumen placed a question
upon the table. All were shocked! For De Silva would one day strangle Dunbar
until he was blue in the face and he expectorated his soul. De Silva laughed
most heartily and slapped Dunbar boisterously upon his back and proclaimed
to all with great felicity: Arses would rather have straw than gold. All
laughed in unison, understanding De Silva and his predicament, for to strangle
is an onerous task, what with the hands and legs of the dying man fighting
vigorously for life, and all knew that though Dunbar was a streak of piss,
he would fight most spiritedly. And the prognostication was accurate.
Then Hipparchus the arbitrator softly spoke: as pigs would rather have cabbages
than silver. And all agreed and understood, for the carrack went under the
name of Pajaro Puerco.7 Thus the silver and gold, which had been
tossed overboard into the undulation, was cleansed from the slate and was
from memory. But still the undulation had to stand trial for the murder of
the cabin boy. This necation would have to meet retribution. This litigation
should not be taken cum grano sali.8 Only a master of law, if
there is one, and if not, then one close to being one, could perform the
task. And so all
looked upon Hipparchus the Arbitrator to come forth and take the case on—though
it would be pro bona, of course. But think of the prominence, eminence, and
the notoriety a case like this could bring, but the quagmire, the troubles,
enigmas, and the questions—what was one to do? What and whose law would
this case fall under? Universal law, of course! One didn’t need to
read all about torts, civ pro, wills, and know the in and outs of criminal
need three years of schooling to know right and wrong. And, it is true, the
undulation fell in the infra jurisdictionem of universal law. For all knew
si quis, unum
percusserit, cum alium percutere vellet, in felonia tenetur.9 For all knew
that the undulation was after De Silva, but took the boy instead. It was
As clear as piss water.
* * *
The undulation was indicted for that he not having
the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation
of the Devil, upon the cabin boy, being in the peace of God and our Lord
the King, feloniously and willfully, and of his malice aforethought, did
assault, and with both his hands and feet, him to and against the ground
did cast and throw, and him in and upon the head, stomach, back, belly, and
feloniously, willfully, and of his malice aforethought, did strike, beat,
and kick, giving him several mortal bruises, of which the said cabin boy
there instantly died. And thereafter tossed the boy overboard into David
locker. There was no need to prove to the jury, for there was no jury, only
De Silva, that the act was not perpetrated infra furorem10 or
that the accursed was non compose mentis, it was simply when and where the
be les pendulous Dei et regis.11 Hipparchus the Arbitrator would
lead the prosecution ad finem.
They should hang the bugger! That would be
bloody grand! So we
all go home! Many a time I’ve been smacked in the crown jewels! Don’t
you mean village pebbles? One day, I’ll wring your neck! Hipparchus
the Arbitrator proclaimed most solemnly that it would take the whole night
for the task. Erastus said that there would be no need to wait for the azure
for he already knew what had to be stated and with this Tancred demanded
to be the executioner. And nobody stated nemo tenetur divinare.12 It would
But the undulation! shouted the marineros, grumetes, and officials in complete
unison. Puride! Putain! Gueulard! Zuccone! Capaneus! Bastard! What of the
undulation? Nemo tenetur prodere seipsum.13 All concurred. But still, there
would have to
be equilibrium for all. Nemo tenetur seipsum prodere.14 But the
undulation would have to defend himself before the court. Nemo tenetur jurare
But still, surely the undulation would make an appearance? Nemo tenetur seipsum
infortuniis et periculis exponere.16 All sighed, for nobody could
find an opening in Hipparchus the Arbitrator’s erudition. It was as
concrete as the Tower of Babel. And so before all the boy’s name and
origin was for all to hear. Some lamented, some wept, while others shared
a ribald joke.
the Arbitrator demanded the death penalty. And the manas mediae17 cheered,
farted, spat, belched, wolf whistled, clapped hands, danced a jig, drank
a bottle of
rum, defecated, urinated, were derogatory of female’s cons, and profaned
most eloquently. The undulation was proclaimed malo animo.18 The
cards were packed up by Estrus, and Seth onerously moved the table, for with
of a Greek
player leaving behind the chorus Hipparchus the Arbitrator moved into the
center of the stage. He swallowed his apple and licked his lips. He stared
around him for Law is above all others. And if a priest, bishop, or cardinal,
yes, and even a Pope, were to come before at this juncture in this epoch,
they too would lower their heads, as the senate did when Tully coughed to
his mighty throat of the phlegm that plagued him constantly.
ladies and gentlemen, the two orbs that sail the azure and the purple, by
of God almighty, the father, son, and holy ghost, and the holy canons, and
of the undefiled virgin Mary, mother and patroness of our Saviour, I stand
you not a familiares regis, but simply a manser19 who was ejaculated
out of a coterie that held Law above all things. Law is the most powerful
to the world of man. The law of right and wrong predates the Germanic and
romantic. True law is not the labyrinthine law of the Byzantine world. Too
Too complicated! The Corpus Juris Civilis is a mercantilist’s dream
ticket! The Justinian law is just an alien as Timur the Lame! Law is the
we must gravitate towards it! Like a whore to the port and a seamen to the
whore. Law directs inexorably to the gallows, the trajectory is obfuscated,
for inevitably that is where we always arrive at, our hands bound behind
our backs, our sacks ready to bust, perspiration cascading down our backs,
tears for our sad existence welling within us, we are a sad lot, and nowhere
more manifest than before the Gates of Saint Peter. It is the awakening to
the temporal problem! It is at moribundity that we truly reveal our true
nature! Justice is just a word! You are in the noose and you are not! You
swinging or you are watching. Law is an enigma! It is perplexity personified.
It has been describe esoteric! Arcane! Semantics! When I sally forth and
contemplate the fundamental rule of law I lose myself as man with the problem
In solitude I contemplate upon law, like sagacious men upon the egg and chicken,
and I obfuscate myself with the quandary—which came first, law or crime.
For crime and law, or law and crime, is first illuminated in the oldest book
this paltry earth. And Cain did slain Abel. He took the rock, the earth that
brought forth his father and mother and gave them subsistence, and brought
it down upon his brother. And he looked down upon his brother and wept for
he had perpetrated for he knew he had done wrong. Malum that is what Cain
is and that is what I scream before Mare!
You silly mare! Stop chewing upon
Stop clutching at the straws! Me head's full of straw! Get on with it! Lord
help us, my bollocks are drying up! That’s what you get for sleeping
Though I might be hoarse…I am no ass! Though all things
obey fixed law, law does not obey fixity. Law is the shadow within the dominion
of darkness, intangible, ephemeral, ethereal, perpetually out of the grip
man. Zooks! Zounds! I see we have a myriad of Thersites within this court,
but none with the wit of Juvenal or the folly of Cattullus. Law is the Minotaur
and the ever profligating labyrinth, with perennial vanishing points and
appearing obstructions, wherein the angry beast is lost! Every time the
he has found the exit another corridor appears before him.
What a mockery!
You’re pulling both legs! Laugh! Yes, laugh! The undulation to stand
before a court! I’ve never heard anything as daft! Do you hear me?
Cleveland. Yes, Cleveland. We are so close! Keep still. The lights! Cleveland!
pet, I’ll get you milk! Yes, lovely milk. Be still. Cleveland. No poetry,
please. I do not prize artificial grief. It’s all behind us now. Cleveland,
dad vuelta!20 You con! You blockhead! Stop staring! Move! Juegue
el guimbalete para que la bomba achique.21 Hang the sot! Later!
Later! Someone should flog that Cleveland today! He’s a big bugger,
Laugh, yes, laugh. But
didn’t a simple pig in the Village of Calusium,
in the year one thousand and fourteen of our Lord, stand trial, was found
guilty and was duly hung for corrupting the youth in the style of Socrates!
stated in the records of Saint Mobberley, that fine church worthy of Paris,
that the guilty pig was drawn and quartered before it emitted its last breath.
And what about the poor lamb of Breightment, England, a thief they branded
him! The way he was butchered one would have thought he would have stolen
the crown jewels and not the virginity of a schoolmaster’s daughter,
the night before her wedding. And what about Giovanni Della Casa who was
not sowing a straight line! They found his cabbages, here, there, and everywhere!
Even the Pope demanded satisfaction. A bull was proclaimed! A flying pig,
more like! Never have I been mendacious! I am no demagogue! I wander perennially
in the realm of veracity. If ever I am about to, or have done in the past,
so let the fires of Saint Anthony plague me! Law has no heart, remember this!
It is a double edge sword! And Blind! Law is of the mind, it is cerebral
not visceral! Remember this. You may pick up a book, and smell it. But still
law is abstract! It is a whisper that becomes a boom that reverberates through
this castle of ours! A ripple that becomes a mighty wave that crashes and
finally washes away the rocks. Though, law proliferates like the Black Death
forever stagnant. It is the ship upon the dead. And we are the dead! Cain
hoisted the mast and the ship has not stopped upon its journey.
* * *
Is the undulation
Enough of this verbosity! Yes! Let’s have the hanging! I don’t
want to hear him rattle; it’s the rattle of his bones I want to hear!
Somebody should remove his tongue! It’s not his tongue; it’s
his lungs! Ten to a penny it will be a lengthy one! Erastus, tell all! The
is guilty, exclaimed Erastus to the lustrous company, to the marineros, grumetes,
and officials. All bellowed a cheer of joy! Tancred did a little jig and
Le Blanc did not stir. Hang the vermin! I will, by Jesus’ holy holes
I will, yelled De Silva. Hipparchus the Arbitrator stood in a marble gaze
movement that could be detected was that of his heart. Seth picked his coagulated
blood from the top of his shaven pate and tossed the pieces into the undulation.
Tancred got the rope and proceeded to construct a fine noose worthy of any
city! Will he shoot before the gates are closed upon him? Buckets, I bet!
Dunbar fell to his knees and prayed for his soul!
A groan could be heard!
It was Hipparchus the Arbitrator.
O man of the earth, have we forgot what Thales illuminated for the world!
I see that all have forgot! What sieves! Well, I will proceed and illuminate
dark lacunas of your minds! After I have finished, your caves will no longer
be filled with the beast of darkness. When looking into the quandary of how
exist, a hypothesis epiphanuosly exploded before the lustrous Thales and
he saw what came before him was that we were all formed out of water. Thus
may it be possible to condemn? Would we hang a woman for forcing back her
newborn child into her womb? What stands before us now guilty is not the
of the crime that you have pleaded me to litigate, for like a flowing river
we never bathe in the same waters! Our toes never dip into stagnant waters.
For each particle is superseded in the movement. The undulation is not stagnant!
We have the wrong man!
The wrong man? bellowed De Silva, Erastus, Tancred, Dunbar, Le Blanc, Seth,
the marineros, the grumetes, and the officials, flabbergasted, in unison.
All were overwhelmed at the effrontery of Hipparchus the Arbitrator and his
It is another apocryphal
long one from this donkey! He truly was a demagogue! A fabricator! A paroxysm
swept through all. Let’s hang this arse instead!
Yes, like they hung Thrasimachus and Lysimachus! Yes, if we are formed of
water, well then, this blockhead is as guilty as the waters of yesterday
day! I concur!
I believe, also! Cut the rope! A shorter length is needed for this fellow!
Lunting, pugnacious all grew in dimension…edifices they now became!
And the supercilious mask of Hipparchus the Arbitrator slipped like Agamemnon’s
after the third scene. There’s a need to know the weight and mass.
soon know the weight of his own arse! And what’s in it! And that he’s
made of water! Now, this is empiricism at its best! Now you’ve gone
too far! It was as though the pumkinhead was lost in Daedelus’s labyrinth
and the only sound he could hear was the grunting of the Minotaur! You would
have thought Zeus was on his end, for he became a bloody fish right before
our eyes, he did! There was no denying it! He struggled for breath! His eyes
bulged as though the noose were already tightening around his neck! He emanated
noxious odors of the lowest order. His veins were just ready to pop! His
tongue was ejaculated from his blue lips! The fight was for air! De Silva
a chair for Hipparchus the Arbitrator to stand on. His arms were bound tightly
just below the elbow and they should have gagged the windbag for like a bad
arse he had to vent his fear!
Dat Veniam corvis, vexat
censura columbas.23 It is now that I see the wise man’s
eyes are in his head and that the fools are up his arse! Blind! I was once
blind, but now I can see! Yes, see, see most clearly! For now I know Law
is nothing when Violence appears on the stage! Like all things Violence annihilates!
Unlike Tacitus, I will not deliberately avoid calling a spade a spade; I
not use his periphrasis, things by which the earth is extracted. Nero went
to taverns, just like the Tabard and not to restaurants. A man may disagree,
allude to great authorities, wax eloquently, huff it out, and yet be rotten
at heart. I confess that if my heart was placed upon a catafalque it would
be pure white like the snow that falls in winter. And though I confess I
am in the throes of pusillanimity, and silently weep to Saint Jerome to hold
as he held two criminals dangling from the gallows, so beautifully painted
by the master Pietro Perugino. O the exuberant red of Saint Jerome’s
cloak astonishes the eyes! It is a red that I have never seen before! The
the color of the blood that runs through man’s veins. It is the color
of wine that the Christ turned from simple water for his mother. And never
have I seen two paragons of beauty portrayed on the same canvas! Their tender
bodies do not hang like the grotesque peasantry we see all around the great
cities of Europe, riddled with disease, blemished, they levitate like ethereal
angels. O my maenads of the undulations. O I mistake; I beg your pardon.
I meant to say, my Myrmidons of the undulations. I listen to your enunciations,
the mishandling of words, your lexicon, your colloquiums, your argot, and
vernacular and I am exasperated with overwhelming profundity. But I must
remember that profaners and blasphemers are more disposed to lying. I think
be right to cut out your tongues and mitigate the pollution. There is a lot
to say about straight talking, as there is a juncture to be loquacious—no,
even verbose—there is a time when one should be able to sojourn in the wonders
of purple eloquence. I know what you are thinking; I am on the shoulders
of Zeus once again and, yes, unlike Homer I will use the word Donkey in abundance
for I will proclaim to all that you sirs are all donkeys! I am forever in
like Sir Thomas Moore for Citizens ruled by good and wholesome laws. But
as with him I know that is an exceedingly rare and a hard thing. It is futile!
I might as well spit blood into an empty glass. So be done with me! For some
the gallows were made for the lucky! Man does not know he has been happy
death. So true! It is after this ordeal that I will sing and give joy! I
know fear makes men believe the worst, but I proclaim that heaven is waiting
me! I go the Cicero way! The fear of death is not death but the fear.
* * *
Wake up, Svap! Wake up!
I won’t have it! Wake up and stop lusting after
those Naiads! Svap, do you hear me? Get up! Svap, I’ll beat those damn
Naiads out of you! Svap, zafa los embornales.24 You’re a
bloody goat, that’s
what you are, Svap! Stop your yammering and lulilooing; there’s
going to be a hanging!
A cheer exploded like Chinese fireworks from the marineros!
It was a lustful cheer as though there were naked Naiads parading about and
everybody knows how much marineros lust after Naiads. This is pure debauchery!
proclaimed Hipparchus the Arbitrator. No, no, stated De Silva, debauchery
going into the whorehouse, it’s not coming out! All laughed merrily
at De Silva.
My soul is like a flying pig, lost on the undulations! I am perplexed as
to where all this leads! cried Hipparchus the arbitrator.
Dunbar stopped his recital to laugh also and Tancred clapped his hands to
manifest his awe and gave Seth a bloody good kick in the pants. Now you have
the line! Yes!
The line has been crossed!
All were bowled over!
The marineros all fell to their knees and did the sign of the cross; the
grumetes took off their tops and waved them to and fro
and the officials solemnly prayed. De Silva came forth and pontificated
will be no hanging on this holy point in time and any man with violent
thoughts should cease or suffer the pains of excommunication. Bloody quiet
Not a movement. Not a belch, not a cough, not even a fart. Not a stir.
Tancred was ordered to cut the bonds and throw the twine into the undulation.
disgust he performed his duty. Well, the line was now crossed. So Erastus
proclaimed that somebody would have to pay for the crime that was committed.
the Arbitrator came forth and proclaimed that the sea would receive sixty
of the best. Winced all did. Sixty of the best! And more came from him.
pay for not one but two substitutes! He was pushing out the boat now. All
clapped at his philanthropy! Two, he said! De Silva was lost for words!
In the next
hour he would double his lot! He didn’t know if to dance or play
the flute with his arse! So as quick as a rabbit upon a goat, Svap and
were hooded and coupled.
One last request, your holiness.
De Silva: So be it.
Cleveland: Let Svap and myself be joined in matrimony.
Svap: O Cleveland.
De Silva: So be it
Cleveland: Place a
rock in my arse so that I go down facing upwards.
Svap: The same with
De Silva: So be it.
Cleveland: God be
De Silva: Do you take
Cleveland: I do.
De Silva: Same with
Svap: As Peter will
welcome me, I do.
De Silva: With the
powers invested in me granted by our Lord the king and all who serve
under him I pronounce you man and wife. Now you may proceed
1If one is pedantic, one will find the knight Sir Politic Would-Be in the play Volpone by Ben Jonson.
2The gallows was made for the unlucky.
3Only the victors shall be remembered.
4Young and gold haired, fair of face, Thou gav’st me tender kisses in my sleep. If waking I may never look upon thee, O sleep, I pray, never let me wake!
5Raise the foresail.
6Put your back into it.
8With a grain of salt.
9If a man kill one, meaning to kill another, he is held guilty of felony.
11In the peace of God and the king.
12No man is bound to divine, or to have foreknowledge of, a future event.
13No one is bound to accuse himself.
14No one is bound to betray himself.
15No one is bound to swear to the fact of his own criminality.
16No one is bound to expose himself to misfortunes and dangers.
17Men of the lowest degree.
18With an evil mind.
20Put your back into it.
21Work that pump brake till she sucks.
23The verdict acquits the raven, but condemns the dove. Juvenal. Satires (11)
24Clear the scuppers.