n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Sunday, November 04, 2007

homophony: knight/bailer to night/baler [more oulipo]

Girded with leather chaps and a bit of tin foil to serve as chainmail, the knight felt just a tad odd sitting, as he was, towards the bottom of the dory with a teaspoon in one hand and a bailer in the other.

Never mind that his faulds were digging into his pelvis, and his vambrances— hand-me-downs from his second cousin twice removed, who was a great deal heftier than he was—extended well past his fingers, preventing the use of his gauntlets, which of course would have rusted up under the contact with water anyway. Once again beleaguered by ineptitude—mostly his own but at least partially his parents, who had gone the way of a particular opulence that couldn’t, in the end, provide their only son with a decent arming coat to wick the moisture from his back, much less chainmail composed of anything more vibrant than aluminum, easily dented but at least pleasantly shiny—Marvin the knight felt the calloused fingers dabbing their way across his brow, almost sexually and certainly sensually.

Marvin had grown almost fond of despondency and actually welcomed him as at least one companion he might trust in a pinch, which was more than he could say for the boatman, who upon seeing the dory spring a leak asked Marvin if he would like a cup of tea.

Generally confused, Marvin said he might find that nice, and away went the boatman after handing him both the teaspoon and the bailer. And away he appeared to be staying.

Never mind that Marvin was at a dock, and might have easily disembarked had he chosen to view the sinking of the dory as the inevitability it surely was. Never mind that Marvin had nothing warm to dip the teaspoon in, which might have at least been some measure of civility, or at least a pleasant placebo. Never mind that Marvin had some important joust or another to get to, of course on the other side of the very river he appeared to be descending into. And never mind that Marvin hadn’t the slightest chance in hell of winning said joust even if he could have managed to arrive.

He was going to sit in that dory and wait for his tea, thank you very much. And he would hold that teaspoon in one uncomfortable hand while attempting with the other to stem the flood that had appeared to originate within the moment when his pointed poleyns had hit an apparently temperamental starboard strut.

-Ah, said Marvin, as he contemplated the moment. He was, of course, speaking to despondency, his ethereal creature with slightly worn knuckles from having cracked them so often. Ah.

If only Marvin had taken the advice of his combat teacher and thrown down the sword, while striving, as the teacher recommended, to not pierce his own sollerets in the process.

–Ye’re more cut out to stand in for stable dross than ye are to meet fence with foil, his teacher had said, not meaning it unkindly at all, but rather as an early example of scientific objectivity.

-I’ve got a son, he continued, who might, with a little remuneration, include you in a bit of wheat threshing, or if not that, then at least some weeding around the periphery. But Marvin had scoffed, as per the way of those doomed to the greatness of failure.

-Ah no, he had said, and now stand guard, for I have it in my mind to slap my greaves across your smug peasant face.

But, as it happened to be, sitting with a dry teaspoon in one hand and a wet bailer in the other, Marvin started to rethink his primary motivations. What if, Marvin thought as the dory’s rim smarted against the river’s insistence, the nicest night I might have e’er felt would have been under full moon: a baler stacking hay in the sigh of a diminished orange field of dry grass? And with this secondary, and surely subsidiary, dream of finding accomplishment as a night baler, the knight made one last sweep of the bailer before his tin foil began the long process of oxidation.
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