The Wonderful O, by James Thurber

Vulpes Libris

And so the locksmith became a lcksmith, and the bootmaker a btmaker, and people whispered like conspirators when they said the names.  Love’s Labours Lost and Mother Goose flattened out like a pricked balloon.  Books were bks and Robin Hood was Rbinhd.  Little Goody Two Shoes lost her Os and so did Goldilocks, and the former became a whisper, and the latter sounded like a key jiggled in a lck.  It was impossible to read “cockadoodledoo” aloud, and parents gave up reading to their children, and some gave up reading altogether…

The Wonderful O is the story of the people of Ooroo, who, colonised by the worst sort of moral monster (the pirates Black and Littlejack), are robbed of their Os.  Desolate and confused, they can no longer love, worship or adore; commerce, religion and public order are affected for the worse; and our heroine Andrea can be “a lass…

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Nico, Eno and John Cale in Berlin, 1974

thebluemoment.com

Nico, Cale, EnoFrom the look on their faces, the Grepos guarding the East German side of Checkpoint Charlie had never seen anything like Brian Eno. This was October 5, 1974, and I seem to remember that Eno had dyed his long hair green. They looked askance at John Cale, too. But somehow they let the three of us through the barriers and barbed wire and past the lookout towers that marked the official crossing point in the Wall, enabling us to stroll up the Friedrichstrasse and turn right on to the Unter den Linden for a taste of the Cold War from the other side.

Nico couldn’t come with us. It was something to do with having a West German passport, but I don’t think she was at all upset. To her, Berlin was the city in which she had lived with her mother between 1940, when she was two years old, and 1954. The young Christa Päffgen had worked as a seamstress and a salesgirl…

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Songbird for Nelson Algren

No.9

Songbird for Nelson Algren

I’ve made more than a few tributes to  the great Chicago writer Nelson Algren.  His shadow looms large over how I see the city.  Algren, of course, is the steely realist who will not let us bullshit ourselves about who we are.  He is also the soft heart who  is full of the gambler’s optimism about who we could be.  He was a master of the gray; the good in the bad and the bad in the good.  He also leavened his often sad and tragic stories with wry humor.  He is also aware of Chicago’s propensity for eating its own.  He often remarked that Chicago could not “love you back” and went to his grave believing this.

Once a year I re-read Chicago: City on the Make and marvel at its sprawling and adventurous storytelling.  It still moves like a freight-train.  It is still a bitter pill and a…

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Charles Bukowski – “melancholia”

The Beat Patrol

 
the history of melancholia
includes all of us.
me, I writhe in dirty sheets
while staring at blue walls
and nothing.
I have gotten so used to melancholia
that
I greet it like an old
friend.
I will now do 15 minutes of grieving
for the lost redhead,
I tell the gods.
I do it and feel quite bad
quite sad,
then I rise
CLEANSED
even though nothing
is solved.
that’s what I get for kicking
religion in the ass.
I should have kicked the redhead
in the ass
where her brains and her bread and
butter are
at …
but, no, I’ve felt sad
about everything:
the lost redhead was just another
smash in a lifelong
loss …
I listen to drums on the radio now
and grin.
there is something wrong with me
besides
melancholia.
 
Charles Bukowski

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