She likes to eat.
She hurries up, striding reared on long uncanny legs,
When food is going.
Oh yes, she can make haste when she likes.
She snaps the soft bread from my hand in great mouthfuls,
Opening her rather pretty wedge of an iron, pristine face
Into an enormously wide-beaked mouth
Like sudden curved scissors,
And gulping at more than she can swallow, and working her thick, soft tongue,
And having the bread hanging over her chin.
The Wild Cheese
A head of cheese raised by wolves
recently rolled into
the village, it
could neither talk nor
Small snarling boys ran
circles around it;
and just as they began
throwing stones, the Mayor
appeared and dispersed them.
He took the poor ignorant
head of cheese home,
and his wife scrubbed it
all afternoon before
cutting it with a knife
and serving it after dinner.
The guests were delighted
and exclaimed far into the night,
“That certainly was a wild cheese!”
Potted meats, empurpled gluttons
(Cp “Sardines on the shelves. Almost taste them by looking. Sandwich? Ham and his descendants musterred and bred there. Potted meats. What is home without Plumtree’s potted meat? Incomplete. What a stupid ad! Under the obituary notices they stuck it. All up a plumtree. Dignam’s potted meat. Cannibals would with lemon and rice. White missionary too salty. Like pickled pork,” Ulysses ch. 8)
And: Housman, Infant Innocence:
The Grizzly Bear is huge and wild;
He has devoured the infant child.
The infant child is not aware
It has been eaten by the bear.
breasts have become “industrial mirrors” — they accumulate more toxins than any other organ, thanks to fat content — […] Breast-feeding […] is also a source of competition between mother and infant. Evolutionary biologists call it matrotropy, or eating one’s mother. […]
Or did you know that the left breast tends to be bigger than the right one? Or that breast volume varies by 13.6 per cent during a monthly cycle, owing to changes in water retention and cell growth? Or that the world’s largest set of implants weighed 21 pounds and required a size 38KKK bra? Ouch. And beyond the lingering question of why do men have nipples, Williams points to features of other mammals, like the manatee with nipples under her flippers, the aye-aye of Madagascar with nipples near her butt, and a hedgehog from Madagascar which takes the prize for most nipples, namely 24 of them.
I occasionally wished her editor had roped her in a tad, as in “my knockered preconceptions were knocked upside down” in the LARB. Extreme interlarding I know, but “swelling unctuous paps” &c. A couple of notes. 1. For breast-as-mirror, cf. Fielding, “Thy pouting breasts, like kettledrums of brass, / Beat everlasting loud alarums of joy.” 2. For lopsidedness, cf. Muldoon, “while both are inclined to be standoffish, / the left ball hangs lower than the right as a general rule.” (There is also that story about the stabbed woman who was saved by her implants.)
Swelling airy paps
Competitors are said to pump air to deliberately inflate the udders before sealing the teats with superglue to stop the air or milk leaking out.
The procedure gives the cattle the appearance of having full udders, an attribute believed to be desirable in show cattle.
Now, therefore, while the youthful glue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore…]
“For the conveyance of oysters”
Maxim Gorky, “Anton Chekhov: Fragments of Recollections”:
His enemy was banality; he fought it all his life long; he ridiculed it, drawing it with a pointed and unimpassioned pen, finding the mustiness of banality even where at the first glance everything seemed to be arranged very nicely, comfortably, and even brilliantly—and banality revenged itself upon him by a nasty prank, for it saw that his corpse, the corpse of a poet, was put into a railway truck “For the Conveyance of Oysters.”
That dirty green railway truck seems to me precisely the great, triumphant laugh of banality over its tired enemy; and all the “Recollections” in the gutter press are hypocritical sorrow, behind which I feel the cold and smelly breath of banality.
He also quotes Chekhov (and yes, I was just looking for “oysters”):
“A Russian is a strange creature,” he once once. “He is like a sieve; nothing remains in him. In his youth he fills himself greedily with anything which he comes across, and after thirty years nothing remains but a kind of gray rubbish. … In order to live well and humanly one must work—work with love and with faith. But we, we can’t do it. An architect, having built a couple of decent buildings, sits down to play cards, plays all his life, or else is to be found somewhere behind the scenes of some theatre. A doctor, if he has a practice, ceases to be interested in science, and reads nothing butThe Medical Journal, and at forty seriously believes that all diseases have their origin in catarrh. I have never met a single civil servant who had any idea of the meaning of his work: usually he sits in the metropolis or the chief town of the province, and writes papers and sends them off to Zmiev or Smargon for attention. But that those papers will deprive some one in Zmiev or Smargon of freedom of movement—of that a civil servant thinks as little as an atheist of the tortures of hell. A lawyer who has made a name by a successful defense ceases to care about justice, and defends only the rights of property, gambles on the Turf, eats oysters, figures as a connoisseur of all the arts. An actor, having taken taken two or three parts tolerably, no longer troubles to learn his parts, puts on a silk hat, and thinks himself a genius. Russia as is a land of insatiable and lazy people: they eat enormously of nice things, drink, like to sleep in the day-time, and snore in their sleep. They marry in order to get their house looked after and keep mistresses in order to be thought well of in society. Their psychology is that of a dog: when they are beaten, they whine shrilly and run into their kennels; when petted, they lie on their backs with their paws in the air and wag their tails.”
like a vily jelly in a pot of humus
I’m glad that the rock is heavy
and that it feels all right in my heart
like an eye in a pot of humus.
Let’s write long letters on grand themes,
fish sandwiches, egg sandwiches and cheese;
or traveling in Mexico, Italy and Australia.
I eat a lot so I won’t get drunk and then
I drink a lot so I’ll feel excited
and then I’ve gone away I don’t know where
or with whom and can’t remember whom from
except that I’m back with my paper bag
and next time my face won’t come with me.
Frank O’Hara, from “Two Variations”
The sausage fly is about an inch long, a hard shiny banger-brown: hence its name.
The insect I associate with our house in Ibadan is the sausage fly. It’s not really a fly at all but some kind of bloated ant that grows wings and takes to the air after rain. The sausage fly is about an inch long, a hard shiny banger-brown: hence its name. In the evening, after it has rained, you shut all your windows. Wings unfold from the carapace of the sausage fly and they take to the air in droves. They are not very good in the air – it isn’t their natural element – and it’s as if they have only borrowed the wings for the day. They steer haphazardly for the nearest light. Inside the house you can hear them carom into the windows and wire mosquito-netting. Squadrons veer unsteadily around exterior lights. They only have their wings for an hour or so. The sausage flies touch down and their wings fall off. A lot of them die as a result of mid-air collisions, flying into walls and such like. The next morning the veranda is crunchy underfoot with their hard bodies, and brilliant fragile drifts of discarded wings lie in the corners. The surviving sausage flies have resumed their earthly existence and have crawled off somewhere to complete their life-cycle. William Boyd