Wordonymous - www.weirdmonger.com 

Weirdtongue (24)

Continued from: HERE.

aka The Glistenberry Romance

Following attendance at the festival’s main stage, Gregory Mummerset and Suzie Mildeyes later yearned for the more gentle melody of lullabies rather than the thumping thumbprints of sound pressed into the soft-imagined carapaces of their once new-born heads. They returned to their tent along with raging migraines: potential op-art dreameries if sleep should help to dull the pains alongside its more customary provision of creative gliding through the fripperies of unreality.

They had enjoyed the ‘circus’ stage-show but the delayed diminishment of competing sounds – rehearsed as well as unrehearsed – from all corners of the benighted site did little to encourage the curative qualities of sleep. The tent was cross-skewed itself as if hordes had skirted it during the collateral damage caused by some ill-reported war here among the valleys beneath the long-tongued Tor. The ground’s mildewy discomfort gave sleep further excuse to keep poking from its shell, antennae quivering in search of further delay.

The couple looked pitifully into each other’s eyes; leaning forward from time to time while lightly kissing away the tears. They were out of depth. Gregory even feared he might need to return to the hospital. Mildeyes and melody-boxes. Somersaults and summersets. The cavortings of a clown. A group called Friques in a side-tent. Safety-net spiders spinning big tops for pops. Marionettes hanging half-dead between the tangling spools of sleep’s slow withdrawal and the crazy-paved merging of two migraines. The incredible Mister Kite. A dark shadow swooping in…

Blasphemy Fitzworth was aboard the fair-sailed Glittenburier as it entered a new harbour of choice without visible steam or sound. Captain Bintiff had long since left this particular texture of truth upon the original craft of Feemy’s destiny with a crew chosen from several of the other voyages that had since intervened yet remained strangely unreported by any of our correspondents in the field. Where Bintiff had gone, nobody in these parts even pretended to know. Feemy’s new Captain if he had a long tongue certainly hid it with a short one. As hidden as his name. A nemophile with emptiness for a face.

Despite the beauty of the fantastical turrets (each a hill-topping Tor in its own right) built upon each new brow of dream, there was a wholesale war afoot here, too, and here and here - with many wild machinations of politick and bent magick. Feemy tried to retain his innocent task of selling meaty parts of himself to the natives – but natives who prided themselves as more civilised than Feemy felt they had no need of such meagre off-cuttings of grease and gristle. They had edible luxuries (rich in protein) hidden within their own humps, but failed to be able to reach round to mine them. Yet, simply knowing luxuries were there (just behind them) made the natives feel confident enough to near starve rather than buy provender from the likes of Feemy.

These natives were native of nowhere. Nemophobes in the main, however, they vigorously sought a name for the land that Feemy had now reached as well as names for themselves ... names for the land where they (these as yet nameless ones) purportedly lived amid the mass of hill-topping Tors and nightly-lit circuses and festivals galore in each valley cleft. If any reader has a name for this land and its natives before we visit its veils and piques again, please let it be known. If, indeed, any reader wishes actually to enter as a real character into the throes of the story towards bolstering, even curing, these various vexed textures of destiny or truth known as Weirdtongue, please also make yourself known to the narrative hospital.



Weirdtongue (19)

Continued from: HERE.

aka The Nemophile (19)

It is difficult to pinpoint the precise moment when Feemy Fitzworth no longer needed a physical meatcart to tote his wares around Victorian London – but, if pinpointed, it was the moment when he became the meatcart himself. So many words had been ingested by his ‘persona’, swelling his glands into even fattier tissues – and he used the steaming heat of the weather that often attacked London in those days to cook the slices he would later slice from his belly quarters and hocks from his hind-calves and heifers from his humpback. A walking carvery.

But without the words he would never have found himself in such a (lucky?) position where he was a self-perpetuating purveyor of cat’s meat for the clipped-back folk of Lower Thames Street. The words used on his behalf immediately turned into fat or flesh or sometimes pre-cooked meat upon his previously lean-shanked hams as soon as they hit the vicinity of his mean gait in front of the soon-to-be-discarded meatcart, discarded, at first, by becoming a ghostly meatcart being towed behind him amid the excited imaginary coos and shrieks of now ghostly children, who had died from food poisoning or simply been stuck up chimney-flues. The cart later - in dreams if not in ghostly form - soon took on the traits of the Weirdmonger’s medicine wagon on Weirdmonger Wheels. Cat’s meat liquidised into doses of linctus to stave off Flew or Quinsy. But then, when the shape of a giant circus tent grew from the canvas wagon, Feemy left the dream before it finished, and dreamed of other things, like the tall Captain Bintiff and his way of talking Weirdtongue. Then, as already indicated, Feemy became the meatcart himself simply because the words said so.

Worse dreams returned to frique and vex the mind of Feemy. He could not endure the strain of toting himself round the streets as a mound of steaming dung disguised as meat (as it later became). He would often doze off within the shade of St Paul’s Dome during the unseemly summers that a backward echo of global warming surprisingly caused without any history books noticing … listening to the ghostly Luftwaffe bombers from the future, while pre-filling the role that Padgett Weggs would later play in a similar position on the pavement (60 years’ hence) as he filled out the silhouette that had once been Feemy’s.

Captain Bintiff stood statuesque against his own larger silhouette, wagging a huge protuberance from his mouth – such a rude gesture that Feemy wondered if the school playground chant would be spell enough to ward off the curses from the sound of language thus produced: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names or words will never change me.

Or even ringtones.



The Nemophile (13)

The next part of Weirdtongue the novel

Continued from HERE.

Gregory stared at Suzie - and at their respective mothers who had separately and independently interfered by visiting during the couple’s first session of light petting on return from the park, both circus and friques forgotten or at least pushed to the back of the mind where any dream sickness sucked but could not stick.

Suzie’s Mum had been ill whilst Gregory had been in hospital. A traditional homely illness like flew or migraine. She was now on the mend and had arrived at Gregory’s flat concerned that he was about to renew his ‘evil influence’ on her daughter. The bloke’s weird, she thought. And Gregory simply knew she thought this so there was not much love lost between them. With many episodes of Lost lost, too, with no TV available in the hospital, he couldn’t help thinking, with a wry smile.

Gregory’s Mum loved Gregory, hence her many failed attempts at visiting him (and no-one else) during hospital visiting hours. Currently, with any dream sickness relatively subdued, both had forgotten the baleful glances between each other as she visited other patients in the visiting carrel, patients she had pretended to be the real Gregory. Equally, mundane matters resumed their importance in day-to-day life with no possible escape into fantasy, real or otherwise. There was a difference between known fantasy and fantasy disguised as reality. But, now, such whimsical concerns - inevitably raising their heads from time to time as they still did - had no option but to retract into their snail-shells, impatiently awaiting the return of any signs of dream sickness or, better still, nemophilia / nemophobia in the minds that controlled such intrinsically uncertain demarcation-lines between (i) reality, (ii) fantasy and (iii) reality/fantasy combined, whilst changing perceptions confused any such ambitions by often being in danger of seeing the actual definitions of (i), (ii) and (iii) as each other’s definition.

In consequence (but with no logical connection to enforce any consequence at all between what went before and what followed), Gregory’s Mum, showed delight in having rediscovered her son (in company with Suzie whom she quite liked despite disliking her mother who was also present). Despite this, Gregory noticed that his mother kept looking at her mobile, no doubt for text messages from her current ‘bloke’.

“Why has my bank book been emptied, Mum?” Gregory suddenly asked, with a look towards Suzie, as if eye-balling his own mother was not possible whatever the provocation.

Suzie’s mother looked embarrassed and made as if to depart.

Gregory’s Mum looked up from her mobile which had trilled to indicate the arrival of a message.

“It says that he wants more money sent overseas so that he can buy another cart,” she said quite innocently, as if changing the subject of Gregory’s bank book was the furthest thing from her mind. In fact the two things may well have been connected.



The Nemophile (9)

continued from HERE

The sailors lowered their sails. The ship managed the rest of the long voyage into the harbour by means of a motorised force that was hidden from view. Its noise was gutturally similar to half-articulate human speech. Complete with glottal stops. Feemy watched great flagons of thick black fluid being fed into various openings in the deck, as imputed fuel. Taking him - by means of crudely engineered mechanisms of motive force as lubricated by the flesh of those who worked in the bowels of the ship - from one mist of memory to another. He remembered the stuff he used to sell from his meatcart, liquidised black-pudding, similar to the fuel in consistency, in look and, possibly, feel, if not edibility.

Feemy had only met the Captain the day before, but by that reckoning, based on memory of duration, the meeting must have been before the voyage started. Or, even, whilst it was still being planned.

The Captain told him that it may be Victorian in London, but the rest of the world would likely never to have heard of the Queen who had given the era its name.

The Captain was the tallest member of the crew but surely that feature wasn't the only qualification for his position in the ranks of navigation. Yet he was the only one who could reach the handle of the door to the wheel room.

As they eye-balled each other over the dinner table in the Captain's quarters, the conversation became flippant and casual, rather than the earlier seriousness concerning latitudes, sextants and galley-slaves.

"Where we're going they speak a language called Weirdtongue," the Captain said, nibbling on some slimy provender Feemy himself had contributed to the ship's victuals. Fishily slimy, despite being cow meat.

"Oh? Do they have people to translate? I thought they spoke Chinese where we were going," said Feemy.

"We changed tack halfway through the voyage. The cargo was moved halfway across the world so that we could pick it up to return it."

Feemy looked quizzical. Little Chelly would have enjoyed this small talk. Ludicrous as some of it was.

Feemy missed his small customers in the City streets around St Paul's and wondered how he had reached this particular pass in life. A drug-runner was never a job he was ambitious about as a boy. He'd rather have been a train-driver. He scratched his head. Not only was the conversation hitting double-notes of misfired music in the meaning, so were his own thoughts.

"Can you speak Weirdtongue?"

The Captain shook his head up and down and then from side to side, as if the very question was in a language he didn't understand.



The Nemophile (4)


Continued from: HERE.


Blasphemy Fitzworth was, as many already knew, a cat's meat man who sold his wares throughout the winding catacombs of streets in Victorian London. The children that followed in the wake of his steaming, bubble-sounding meatcart (as he pushed - or more often pulled - its tiny sprung wheels) were often cock-a-hoop with life, despite the mouching, slouching way of the still slowly unfolding past that threaded their young bones with rancid marrowfat and fed further redless pigments into their bloodcourses. They joyfully shouted 'Feemy!' (a foreshortening of his name) when they heard his costermonger's cry in an indeterminate distance, slowly drawing nearer and nearer from (to them) impossible angles of approach:

"Gout cat! Spout cat! Watch their whiskers sprout, cat!"

The legend - not among the kids as they were too young to know - indicated that Feemy Fitzworth was a spy from other times, from other worlds alternating with ours, ever on the search for evidence of greater and (then again) greater Gods than those in which the indigenous peoples already believed. A step-ladder toward the noumenon. Ecumenical, if not economical, with the truth.

The choice of cat's meat vending as a disguise was first described by another visitor to our times, but facts got so crosswired (not only the times whence this scribe came but even his identity and whereabouts themselves) they have become ludicrously confused with where he was going or whence he'd just been and why. Some even believed that the scribe was Feemy himself. But that confusion was one confusion too far. A first straw that broke the linear dromedary's back. But none knew. None probably cared.

Chelly Mildeyes was one such kid, maybe a kid in disguise, who followed Feemy by becoming a spy upon a spy or, more likely, a reminder of the ghost she replaced. But that is only hearsay. Other texts may tell fresher truths, but today we can only be sufficed with this one, given any timely exegesis by external sources or not. She certainly mixed in with the other scrawny, tornly dressed kids with a will and a believability that makes any doubt quite parsimonious and self-demeaning.

She plumped a fist into the meatcart's back pan, evidently not eager to clutch at the valves of still heart-beating brisket melts (hence the fist rather than a clawing open palm), but to see if she could do it without Feemy noticing. A devilment for its own sake. Either to enhance her disguise in face of Feemy's own disguise or, more likely, because she actually enjoyed devilment for its own sake. She was soon interfered from her childish dipping by the sight of Feemy saluting the sun as a sort of shading of the eyes against its glare. She thought he said he could see Great Old Ones gliding in with huge cattle faces from a direction he'd not expected. Their lowing filled the sky with a monotonous low-key thunderstorm.

It was then he heard his mobile ring - out-trilling the squeaking meat of the middle pan where he'd stowed it.



Simon Heman

The fire glowed amid the lizard-skinned ashes, as the youth with one earring knelt to warm his hands. It had been cold out and his mother had said it would yet be half an hour before tea was high enough to be served. This was an expression of Simon Heman’s mother, and he’d even stopped worrying that he never understood exactly what she meant.

His stonewashed jeans had such gaping designer rips at the knees, the lower half of the legs seemed to be hanging merely by a thread. He crouched in a half-kneeling position, to expose the parts where the heat would not normally have reached readily.

He’d left his motorbike leaning in the alleyway alongside the otherwise terraced house: not having it long, he was still worried that it was unsafe left out there in this less than desirable precinct of the city. The ‘L’ plate shone out luminously even after the street lighting flickered off in the late evening: red on white, like the jelly and cream his mother had served on his 18th birthday in just such a design, to celebrate his coming of age.

He put his hands closer to the fire: either because they were growing even colder at the extremities despite the heat or, as he really thought, the audibly crumbling firewood was losing all its ability to hold more than an ‘appethworth of warmth. There was a low, insidious grumbling within the chimney breast...which was a wind picking up at the back of the house, he assumed.

Then he suddenly thought the embers were glowing brighter: re-erupting worncasts of fire: his hands were floating like separate autonomous entities above the rising heat, so becomingly translucent, he could even have convinced himself that he was the angel his mother told her friends he really was.. .at heart.

With growing horror, he looked down at the knees shyly poking from the gaps in the jeans: like wedges of cut glass with a three-dimensional map of blood streams inside. He tried to persuade a hand to reach up to his face, but no amount of will-power could accomplish this amazing feat. Then, after he had given up all hope, the hand, of its own volition, swept to the top of his head...and a residue of feeling in the tips of his fingers told him that they were actually grasping a soft substance...and, as they squeezed it, his own mind seemed to flip and become madder by the second...

His mother came into the parlour where she’d laid the fire earlier in the afternoon. She dropped the tray of tea things which she had been carrying at shoulder height, extended in front of her like an offering at an altar. The clatter momentarily brought what used to be Simon Heman to just an ‘appethworth of consciousness...and he wondered fleetingly why his mother looked as if she’d just seen a ghost.

The motorbike haunted the alley, a red ‘D’, instead of an ‘L’, upon a white plate glowing at its bent mudguard. Mrs Hernan had always doubted the safety of such machines. Now, she knew for certain.

(published 'Midnight in Hell' 1991)

The Visitor (44)

The Third Room
by Des Lewis

Lorg and Ed entered the third room and before them in a 1970’s style room sat the shape of the author himself. Des Lewis smiled at them as he scrawled, and, as they left the room for the fourth, continued writing these words & ‘The Visitor’ is evidently nearing its inevitable end perhaps frightening conclusion.

The Fourth Room
by John ‘Monty’ Cheese

To pass from the tight form of a carven ornament in some South London shack to the very cosmos itself, limitless and unlimiting; to pass from the hard and knotty beauty of shaped onyx to the battlefield of the turning and formulating stars; from the aesthetic intricacy and finite essence of a twisty broochpiece to the astrological egoterica of uncounted and unaccountable solar systems; from the hideousness and tautness of some necro-amulet to the cosmogonic fevers of the many skies - is a journey of such short duration that the heroic pair’s passing from room to room would seem eternity. But... and I repeat, but, as the door of the fourth room opened before them, the journey was forgotten since the cosmos itself, limitless and unlimiting, seemed to be before them. Stretched out below, beside and above, were stars and deep night. Fluttering their very clothes were apparent starwinds and seeming planet-shifts. However, this was doubtless some earthmade planetarium, some immodest attempt to conjure up the cosmos for our bewildered pair.

They stood in reverential awe of this vastness, not realising its synthetic nature nor the ‘camera obscura’ operator behind the flimsy canvas on which the stars were so realistically painted. The hyacinth show was about to begin.

At first a distant speck could be seen, slowly getting bigger and bigger. A beauteous buzzer? A cantankerous form of bumble-beery? Cantankerous is the right word, for the speck grew into a floating mongrel Dog with a bowery tail and a pair of large-bladed scissors that made an awful snicker-snacker, a truculent snip-snap. He looked angry as his paws beat time within the loops of metal. His woof was, however, light and silly! He floated past the staring spectators - not even deigning to give them a glance.

Next, there came an image of the world, an earth metaphor, a carven image of our globe bobbing along the vortices and schisms of space. It appeared to be tied to the strange Dog’s bowery tail and followed him like an ungainly balloon. Next, bobbed along the three crosses of Golgotha each with a symbol pinned upon it (the cardinal squid, the fixed brooch and the mutable puppet Lorg Dagg himself, all in blasphemous effigy). Finally, came a boatload of Harchwee merchants singing a dreamy song. Dagg and Alpo rubbed their eyes in disbelief as the trinity passed along in almost carnival array.

Then, suddenly, from the opposite distance to that in which the first speck appeared came a skein, a shield, a plaque, a swathe, a woof, a weft, a warp, a loom, a gullet, a wing, a folding door, call it what you will, of fire. This ultimate Singe of Fire, this smouldering and inner-burning, many-petalled Lotus of Egnis, inessentia1 but cosmic, fleshless but arranged around a point of light, loomed beside the wagging canine pup. Vortices of gas sped the maelstrom on as force met force.

Then… untold, unbeckoned, Lorg took it upon himself to urinate over the whole show. Extinguished the fire and drowned the silly Dog. Swamped the toy earth. This iconoclasm shocked even Ed Alpo and he remonstrated with his careless master. However, as the water continued to gush from his loins, Lorg’s skin began to blacken, his tongue to blister, his eyes silted up, his ears fell off, he literally wilted arid became huge lumps of blackened cinder on the fourth room carpet. The water slowly died away. The stars had disappeared and only peace reigned around the spellbound Alpo. Only he, the flunkey one, only he would see the three remaining rooms. He made faithful obeisances before The dehydrated remains of his dead master and left the room.

The Last Rooms
By D.F. Lewis

Pre-Time, Post-Time, all the Times that have ever or will ever or still do endure, lead up to (or from) Victorian England, the First World War, the Second World War and now (or then)… Economic Collapse of Western Earth, Seismic Collapse of East World and a general drift to decay, maze and false beginnings.

As Ed Alpo, the unthinking Sci-Fi Sidekick, the feckless flunkey, he who archetypes this phase of the novel, drifts ignorantly through the last three rooms unaware of the significance, he glimpses, but does not appreciate, a panorama of those who read him: you and me, him and her, them and us, statuesque as dead sculptures in a ultramodern style, stone books clasped in our (or their) stone palms. This the Beast Within? Or Beasts? Bliss?? This a reading competition (a complement to an earlier literary contest), a rat-race over stone words (verbal icons), stone gaps, stone commas, stone comers, stone chapters. Who shall win? Only the rooms will tell: the first, second and third phase of the last phase. Our Visit is well and truly over.

DFL 2006 comment: and so ends something I wrote in 1974, incorporating a few things from my writings in the sixties. I was born in 1948. Judge for yourself how young or old I must have been then. Having reVisited ‘The Visitor’ to blog it here, I wondered what the hell! It’s really bad, just as bad as I recall it. But, equally, it is better than I remember it. It echoes forward to later things. I have kept it more or less untouched … despite an urge to rewrite and refigure and make my visit an intrusive one. I am a believer in selves and the judgement of and by selves (Proustian?). Why should an earlier self of mine be dictated to by one of its future selves (ie. me!)? All selves are crazy. As are all commentators. Which brings me to PFJ whose actual 1974 epistolary comments you’ve just read piecemeal in this exercise of re-living. I have had a long correspondence with him weekly (I guess) through the post from 1967 – and a valued friendship (less frequently in person). Furthermore, he constructively commented in letters on lots of my stories in the late eighties and early nineties, for which I (and the world?) are eternally grateful. DFL the writer would not exist without him. Nor would DFL exist without various DFL selves throughout the decades. Together with RO'C's 1980/1990s' considerate views of the DFL publications and his advice re reading SF etc. I am pleased by the memory-breaking exercise of re-typing the whole of ‘The Visitor’ to have been part of those DFL selves again. I hope I was welcome.


The Visitor (41)

The Colour of the Steps
By The art Master

I have only been concerned with shape, symbol and form in my description, so far, of the Shift of the Infinite Steps. I will now hint at the variegated colours that deck the steppered ways: apple-cheeked, buff, rubescent, snuff-hued, dapple, oyster-grey, mauve, violaceous, flaxen, honey-pale, incarnadine, crimson, sandy, brinded, moiré, pied, old gold, coppery, livid, azure, skyey, saffron, bloodshot, rufous, auburn, bricky, tawny, chocolate, collied, pitchy, bleached, snow-capped, ash-blond, off-white, strawberry, rouged, damasked, grey-green, grizzly, heliotrope, creamy, fulvous, glaucous, leafy, avernal.

Dagg dreamt of a thousand colours that were so diffuse in their manifold machinations, that blurred oyster-grey they seemed.

Dagg dreamt of footèd wheels clanking across the endless hierarchies of the plain.

Dagg woofed and wagged his dreaming tail, as he snuffled in the dirty angles of the steps.

Dagg took his truculent scissors and chopped away one stinking testicle from his own body.

Dagg awoke from this and other dreams.

Dagg shook Ed’s shoulder to wake him from his snooze.

“Go away,” gritted Alpo, “I’m not getting up at this bloody hour. This is not a frigging health farm, is it?”

“Come on, Ed,” coaxed Lorg, who knew that his valet was still dreaming, thinking he was back in his Mum’s shack in Scandinavia.

Gradually, Ed shook himself free of vain delusions and he rubbed his eyes as the plain of steps appeared before him.

“We must get to that tower before night falls,” urged Lorg Dagg. “Be it fact or vision, it is our only hope for shelter. Have you got the ropes, picks and climbing-pins ready? We shall need them before this day is out.”

“I did not bring them, Mr Dagg, since our recourse here was so sudden. There we were innocently watching the execution of political recalcitrants and, then, what a whopper! A rocket! Swept us off our feet and landed us here! What can the meaning of it all be?”

“You can repeat that question, Ed,” Lorg replied. “I seem to remember many dreams – nothing tangible, you know – and here we are in yet another one – although this seems real, since the others I know are dreams and if I can say ‘this seems real, since the others I know are dreams’, this can be no dream but what is actually happening. Do you agree? However, I will probably regret saying ‘this seems real, since the others I know are dreams’ because, if this be dream, I will be inextricably confused and you will have to comfort me.”

Ed, aghast at such meaningless argument, shrugged and said: “Worry not, sir, we have a goal – that tower. Surely we will find help there.”

“Count not on such vain delusions, Ed, for I fear that that edifice is but mere mirage in this desert of – for want of better terminology – steps. However, arise, valiant flunkey, and let us tread a wary path.”

They arose and stepped, up and down, up and down, for hours of Alice-like frustration until Lorg made the following comment:


“Lost not your perseverance for, if that be lost, then we may as well sit down and die.”

“Die? How can we die? We have no weapons. We have no thirst – seemingly. We have no hunger. (Had you noticed?) In fact, we have no tiredness. So how can we die? I fear we will never even sleep again…”

“We have our fists. You fought off those crones with them, remember?”

“Crones? What crones? I remember no crones,” shouted Lorg.

“’Crones? What crones? I remember no crones.’ What a dippy thing to say. You know, sir, you look highly silly when you are indignant.”

“Silly? But what crones?”

“Those in Rull who claimed to have some sort of incestuous relationship with geography or something. Remember now? Years ago now we met them – this place reminds me of them. They lived in caves with some bearded Englishman and claimed to be earthmothers. They were cultish about dirt and scrabbled in it in some sort of mystico-sensual way. Lawrencian, I think that’s the word, Egypto-Cosmic beetlewomen. You know the sort of claptrap. Well, they came at you with paintbrushes daubed in sticky white paint. Remember? …What’s the point of this story? Oh, yes – our fists – we can beat each other into pulpy puddles and thus die. Ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha!!”

Ed’s laugh echoed luridly across the plain and then died away into silence. Lorg shrugged and plodded on over the colour of the steps.

The Owl Creek Complex
By John ‘Ambrose Borges’ Cheese

They could not rest as rest they did not need. How can one rest when neither standing or sitting are resting but merely standing or sitting in unencumbered essence? Their initial sleep seemed to have been fat for their hump and fed their sub- and pseudo-conscious Owl Creek complex (HSW-EAP and all the other paraphernalia and portmanteau fal-de-lals).

As they stood in their unrest, Dagg spotted some peculiar written devices (incomprehensible (to him) glyphs of an esoteric lore) embedded in one spoked ramp nearby. He bent nearer and concentrated his vision on the following strange, inchoate circle:

(DFL 2006 comment; there follows a crudely drawn 12-spoked, wide-rimmed, substantially hubbed circular device (like a wagon-wheel or horoscope?) with the 12 zodiacal signs (as astrological symbols used on natal charts) in order around the rim, Capricorn at the top.)

“Look, Ed, there’s some writing and a funny circle here.”

Ed rushed forward and crouched beside his master peering at the tokens carved into the steppered plain.

“This mystery should not delay our journey, sir. I fear a storm brewing.”

At that moment, a pitchy cloud covered the insipid sun and, amid the intense gloom this caused, thunder rolled and farted across the birdless welkin. A shaft of crackling light lit up the Shift momentarily and silhouetted the crouched pair against a ranked and sole-towered background. Then, sheets and swathes of rain swept uncontrollably across their plastered faces. Plaques and shields of water buzzed between their cringing forms and bounced up in giant splatters from the now almost flowing steps. Fearing floods, the startled duo began to scamper but, once again, Carroll-de-sacs were their only reward for effort.

“We will never reach it,” screamed Dagg through the frenzied flurry of the elements.

And we leave them, for the time being, as they crawl on fours between the gates of the very tower.

The First Room
By Charles Dipp (our war correspondent)

As the gates closed behind them, for a moment they were blinded by the many ceiling lights. However, as their pupils grew smaller and their eyes accustomed themselves to the contrast between the dark, foreboding stormclouds outside and the brilliant unnatural scintillations within, they raised themselves from the animal poses of their entry and cast naïve looks at their surroundings. I will not bother you nor spoil your clear image of these surroundings, by the authors’ factory, of which I am a member, but the dénouement, the climax, the lead down will remain in your imagination, only yours. The interior of the tower was an archetype, a hall of the collective unconscious and thus by me, a conscious being, indescribable.

Suffice it to say (and to say it very quickly) that I never saw it, but I know (know it intuitively, know it archetypically) that it was septagonal.

The impulse, the Self that did the driving, I also do not know and somehow do not care. But the heroic pair, completely complexical in their now symbolic interaction, did not talk. Talking was over, as a full-stop once put it. They opened the first door and entered a realm that was (you will be relieved to hear) definitely not symbolic. Within was light which was quickly extinguished. Within was silence which quickly gave place to whirring. Within was a resultant darkness which was again quickly deposed by a flishflashing square of light on a far wall. Blank was this light until images flickered too and interacted with resultant noises and meaningful sound-waves. They saw a chaplinesque figure throbbing on the screen of images and saw it raise its right arm from its jointed shoulder, right from the root of the shoulder, in salute to a mass of glassless faces. Beside him stood the lateral figure of a muffled and enveloped man, a right nutter. They heard chants and compulsive hymns. They saw a footèd wheel carrying corpses and broken limbs. Then they saw nothing for the images faded into numbers, which in turn faded into darkness (giving darkness back its own darkness).

Still not knowing the relevant impulse (so I will not attempt to explain or depict), the unsurprised pair left the room and later entered the second.

(written 1974)

The Visitor (40)

The Second Dream
By Des Lewis

(In which s.s. believes himself to be The One-Balled)

Lorg Dagg the epic poet and renowned but renounced mountaineer, strode into the hall, fixed attention on himself by waving his hand at the blushing princess who was trailing yards and yards of organdy and fur.

Hunched heads whisper and gesticulate excitement. The froth and fury, colours hinting at colours, of a Strauss waltz climaxed expectedly to allow Greek God and Fairy Queen to bow, kiss and tender courtesy.

…Fixed attention on himself, but his knee suddenly buckled and he collapsed, an inglorious heap on the stretched floor. Unnoticed, but soon to be so, Lorg’s dagger had accidentally, in the treacherous fall, pierced his right shoulder. (Or was it his left testicle?)

Latimer turned from the window and the sight that had presented itself to his dull eyes. He turned and saw that the record had ground ingloriously to a tuneless slowth and to an even more tuneless halt. Blood was gushing from its speaker and splattering over Rosemary’s putrid corpse.

The clock tack irreproachably.

He cannot quite remember when he first heard the distant baying of champing policedogs but they suddenly pounced into the sedate room and snarled menacingly around his blushing face. Three truncheoned policemen followed and arrested him for harbouring an unsanctified corpse. They bustled him off across the steps, to the war where he would end his days continually dying for his country.

Lorg did not see the bowed head of Latimer escorted from the leaning tower across the steppery by the police-dogs and -men … for he was asleep and dreaming.

The Third Dream
By Charles Dipp

(In which s.s. believes himself to be St Lorg Dagg)

I dreamt of a strange, chaotic sea that was white as the land was black.

I dreamt of a teller whose elephantine muffles blurred the telling.

I dreamt of a comer, a sexual spirt of white pus.

I dreamt of a black war where the dead were black before they were red.

I dreamt of a visitor who came at precisely moon.

I dreamt of the telling of several stories woven into a crown of thorns.

I dreamt of one who did not tell his story and was eel-like or octopoid.

I dreamt of a sign and a wriggly swastika.

I dreamt of a huge bird who leaned over my corpse and pecked.

I dreamt of a saint and he made me saint, too.

I dreamt that I followed him through several fictional mazes.

I dreamt that he led me kindly by the hand and set me down.

I dreamt that he told me to write and this I did, to tell that which must be told.

I dreamt that I was back on that cliffedgy, chiaroscuro land but the wave were steps.

Latimer did not die in the First World War. He continued to die in the Second.

The Germans captured him at this very beginning and such was his treachery, he became Adolf Hitler’s batman and had his ear. In fact such was his influence, the true Fuhrer was he. He fed the brain of the Chaplinesque figure with the crosses and intertwinements of progressive despotism.

He, the Victorian (DFL 2006 comment: Visitorian?) Englishman that is, stood astride the gas chambers and watched corpses accumulate. And, on his brow, beside the MGM device, twitched a new device, a new tune, a wriggler, a comma, a hiatus, a symbol of a new fiction, viz:-

(DFL 2006 comment: there follows a crudely biro-drawn image of another huge ‘plank’ cross, this time in the shape of a swastika revolving (denoted by arrows) in a clockwise direction) as if using its ‘feet’ to travel across a level surface (or steps?). Nailed by head and limbs to it is a man’s body, with moonface and beard, but no glasses or mole.) At the end of each ‘foot’ of this swastika cross are numbers, 12 at the top, 3 to the right, 6 at the bottom and 9 to the left).

Three Poems from ‘The Egnisomicon’ (DFL 2006 comment: written 1967)


Charred skeletons frozen in prayer of the sky
On plains of Ka and Toons
Infinity upon infinity
Of sky-stroking bones
Laughing crying and wailing
The cacophonous tittering
Rides the gusts of gore and gangrene
Chanted in praise of Etepsed*Egnis
Scream overlaps scream in the cacosong of pain
Surging and seething in time to the pulp-pulp of the mud
And indefinable bog-beasts slither
And splash as they frolic in the sickly soup
Ugeemen and pogeemen scratch each other
Caking their claws with yellow crusted blood

A swirl of light splits the sky in two
Illuminating the waving bones in a lurid hue
And sending a thrill of ecstasy
Into the spongy fibres of the bog-beasts
What a demonic blast of unholy effulgence!
The horizon bristled by the sky-stretched bones
Is laced in crushed varicolours
And inexplicable rainbows stream from sky to earth
A black twisted tree like a hand sexing the sky
Twists and groans in pain
As it burns in a crackle of fire till a black scab on jelly
From the ash-heap of decay
Leaps a swollen bird flapping its useless wings
And it falls to the mud as its feathers are spat out by the fire

Ka and Toons
The plains of evil and singe
Pulse eternally like a human heart freshly plucked from a body
Ka and Toons
Fevered abysses the playpen of our great EE
Here we might see the condemned cormorants
Being licked from the sky with his fiery tongue
Look! See them squirming on his palate!
Look! See him gnawing on sensual thrill!
Look! See him swimming in his blood-bath
Filled from the veins of twelve million goats!
Look! See him romp through the plains
Trying to crush as man skeletons as he can!
Not sights for you or me
But remember when you die
Yes when you die
You will be one of those skeletons
Scratching the belly of the sky for mercy and warmth
You will eternally be one on the plains of Ka and Toons
That is until you are crumbled to dust by a playful romp.

The Fall of the Kings of Harchwee

The oceans are in turmoil
Bubbling and seething over the lands
Once ice
Now molten lead
They drown and scorch all in their path
In one fell swoop
They swallow humanity from the earth’s face
Till all that remains is a maelstrom
Eddy upon eddy
Whirldrag upon whirldrag
The titanic swirl sucking at nothing
Pulling at the abysses of the thousand skies
Spilling over into chaos

“Look at it sputter and seethe”
Remarked Kakir to Pelade who was having a hot bath
With his socks on
“Look at it indeed”
Returned Pelade fondling Lived’s toenail
And wishing that he was alone
Natas there too suggested
“The work of our master Etepnis?”
“Doubtlessly” muttered Yog Sothoth with a terrifying grimace
Here on holiday from the moon
“I’m getting mighty fed up with him”
Stammered Skruk in his typical muddy voice
“Aren’t we all” said the rest of the gods in unison
“Aren’t we all” they repeated
Or maybe it was an echo – we shall never know
Or perhaps we will – rather unlikely though
“Don’t you think it is time for a revolution”
Said Saduj cringing under the weight of a five-ton foot
A resonant “yes” thundered through the abyss
“He is tyrant beyond all tyrants”
“Without telling us he floods Htrae”
“Isn’t it called Earth?”
“You pagan! Take your blasphemy elsewhere”
“Htrae is ours to tend and taunt not his”
“We shall rebel” cried Skruk the obvious leader
Let it be known that not all the gods were present
And let it also be known that these will not succeed
And let it also be known, dear reader of the hundred skies,
That this is (obviously) a satire on the biblical story
Where Satan & Co. rebel against God
And fall to a Hell where they singe and turn to serpents
That is a myth – this is true
Let’s name these naughty gods so that you can boo whenever mentioned
Skruk forever to be called from now on – Kurks
Pelade Lived Kakir Saduj Natas Yog Sothoth & Lionel Blair

The oceans are in turmoil
See it turn and writhe
Filled with snakes and toads
See it squirm and swirl

Meanwhile Etepnis an abbreviation of our leader
Watched and grinned
He watched and he grinned
He grinned and he watched
He laughed
He laughed to see the futility of their wrangling
“They think I do not know their mellow plans”
We all know that Etepsed-Egnis is the greatest
And the only way to pierce his unpierceable armour
Is to use the forces of mellow
There is no singe greater than E*E
There is no mellow greater than Dog
Therefore it is pointless for Kurks and Co. to wrangle further
But we shall oversee their futile plans

The oceans are in turmoil
See it turn and writhe
Filled with snakes and toads
See it squirm and swirl

Mellowed beyond recognition
Natas wallows in cool blood
Stroking the anus of Kakir
Dog seeing a chance to one up on our EE
Visits the plotting crowd and says
“My friends
Lend me your ears
I come to bury EE not to praise him
At last you have seen the mellow light
Take your high spears
Your black trees of pain
Take your lofty mountains
And squash to a pulp the tyranny of EE”
All roared in assent
And Kurks answered choking on a jelly baby
“Thank you Dog for these words of wisdom
How do you overcome the might of this neo-Hitler”
“It is simple
As bombing a Vietnamese village with napalm
Mellow his singe
Melt it so it drips like the mud of a swollen river
Be good follow Dog and his singe will be overshadowed”
Natas Kurks and Pelade
Transmogrified into three old men decrepit as the oldest hills of Babylon
And they took gifts
To a puling baby in Bethlehem who was to be the essence of mellow
Lived took on several names and wrote a book
They call it the Bible today
But in the nameless circles it is still Elbib
What mellow they did perform!
EE did cringe and shudder
His singed up body began to melt
Gobs of amber grease tore away and fluttered through the cosmos
EE was in trouble

The oceans are quiet
Gentle ripples flop around stone piers
And humanity praises its ugly mellow head

EE was not however defeated
He lit a gigantic fire licking the very sky
And he let it play around his body
Till once again he was a mass of limbs and flame
A continual singe of flesh
He glided through countless abysses
A boeing aeroplane spinning ever onward singeing the air
An awesome sight
Kurks and Co. stammered a prayer to Dog
But he was fled with his truculent scissors
They saw the right of their ways
And were sorry
They prayed for mercy to EE
“O Great One of the seven deeps
We were misled
We recognize your omnipotence
Wrap us in your wings of fire
And singe us to cinders”
“No” thundered the voices of our master
“No” thundered Edas by his side
“No” thundered Dnomsed
“No” thundered Retep
“No” thundered all the singed up beings of all time
EE took the mellow gods
And gave them the greatest punishment thinkable
He threw then into the hall of mellow
Where amidst sirens and harps
They turned into angels
Dog kissed them all
A fitting punishment
We must never mention these shocking creatures again
Condemned with eternal bliss
What a holy bunch!
Once singeful now forgotten
EE reigned in turmoil once more
But he forgot the oceans the cause of all the trouble

The oceans lap
Humans play
The oceans rest
For the time being

The Egnis Egress

Repulsive beasts of a sadder night,
Scarecrows of an earlier dawn,
Ill-shaped grotesques of a graceless noon
Peer around the corners of our doors
To see us in our material nudity,
To sex us with their hulky eyes,
And all we do is blink and blotch
In watery embarrassment for our shame.
Both the aunt and uncle of our life
Plop into an insignificant bucket
Splashing, only slightly, our well-rubbed boots
With worthless water and watery blood.
Suddenly grabbing our ego with both hands
We try to shoo the blotty shapes away
From the corners of our widening doors
And from the space that sits in our souls.
However, the asymmetry of the day
Is darker at the play of our so-called will,
As more and more grim-visaged forms amass
At our tiring feet and blotted boots.
The defacement of our considered pose
Is purely pitiful to watch, but watch we must
As it is that should be pitied, it is us
Who beckon the shapes to go and go.
Then, to surpass the harridans that are here,
Arrives the top toad of them all,
Creepy and gargoyle-gorilla tall:
The Egnis, the haggard blot of a darker night
And even darker space, withers on to our stage
And scowls and almost seems to age
As we watch, as watch we truly must.
Orderless botch that he is,
One can see he was carefully created
When he was young and fresh from fertility,
But now he is a going thing,
A trend dooming towards a slouching end,
A wrinkled piece of rotting eel,
Scar, splotch, smut, wen, wart:
Words race and die inwards.
Inbred, he dies inside out, with all the tubes
Hanging out, dribbling on our floor
Recently carpeted by the Wilton man,
And we are so annoyed we forget
Our shame, our blame, in fact,
And deposit the few and fewer remains
In a handy matchbox on the mantelpiece.
The forms have done their act
And now they fumble off, hyacinth quiet,
To the garden from where they came –
Garden O of circularity fame
Where the fence is round and dirty brown.
Sit still, sit quiet, friends around,
You cannot hear, now we are alone,
The baying as of some gigantic hound.

(written 1974)

The Visitor (39)

Ka and Harchwee
By The art Master

“A Kaleidoscopic, Biblical edifice towers gauntly before the squinting eyes of uncounted and unaccountable hordes. The Beast within is unseen, unheard, but they still squint, shade their eyes from the burning sky, to see He who Comes, to glimpse the explosion of ice and death…” (A famous author)

The sun is weak and watery. The black bladder of the sun seems to be always setting in insipid array over the plains of Ka, Harchwee and Toons.

One such plain is in Harchwee, unmapped by those topographical flunkeys in Lancaster, dubbed the Plain of Beyondo by some undiscussed tomes beside me now and the Shift of the Infinite Steps by others. As I draw nearer, the third part of my novel unfolds before me, each nook and cranny of its story, all the dark corners (chimney-corners, kyphotic angulations, forked and furcated crossways, hook-nosed cusps, V-shaped crutches, akimbo zigzags) of its narrative intricacies, every labyrinthine and mazy catacomb of its tortuous tale.

dream wending to its ending
crosspath bending
around the fingers
of the fingerpost
reaching paths that ask
the way away to themselves.
noisy pylons and sexy fences
border the way to the way
that leads to the Plain of Steps
a mere moaning mileternity
from the dry sea
and thankless is your badcome.
dream blending
through creepish crossways
and dim and dimming dingles
if you are deaf
turn left
or you are dead!

silent Plain
perching over the arid waves
once a clifftown
where its denizens
did shade red eyes
from the forking sky to the fore
and the screeching streets
to the hind.
bind your sheaves!
weave your thatch
as thick as summer growth!
for lo! The winter winging crow
wings of wind
and beak of flaming fork
skin of darkest sin!

dream ending
its crosswork toppling
from stitch to stitch
clifftop tipping
into the dying sea.
how could they appreciate
that you came
through crosswinds
on screaming feet
to save them from this end?
how can you express
the words
that even now are dimming
on your bleeding lips?
how can you?
the crow’s on you
and the crowd’s a crew
of sunken craft
of novels and suppurating crosswords.

The Shift of the Infinite Steps is a plain beneath the bruised sun of Harchwee; it is a plain of non-Euclidean, Escherine, non- and pseudo-geometrical, promiscuous, indiscriminate, untopographical steps. As far as my eye can see, there are the ups and downs of steps and stairs, ladders and runged gradients, calibrated hills, scalar ramps, graded dips, hierarchical slopes and skewbacks, herringbone escarpments…

As far as my eye can see is this nightmare of endless steppery. Some lead down, some lead up, but none join each to each or seem not to do so. Therefore, my considered conclusion is that both the going up and the going down are perfectly pointless. A problem with no solution for the mountaineer or alpinist. A descriptive impossibility for the careful writer or the careless hack.

However, my eye does not drift endlessly over these ascents and descents, does not frisk forever with these flighty stairs. For towering at the centre of some horrid contamination of steps in the distance is the edifice, the tall and leaning, many-hatched erection, the broody brickwork containing that which must be hid from your eyes until the dream has ended. It efforms, in standfast incubation, from the deserted steppery, looms, in carven but inchoate genesis, from the massive slopes, rears, almost beastlike with many eyes, over our next scene.

The next scene? A scene from some B film, no doubt.

The rocket zooms over the bestepped plain and drops our two heroes to a particularly large and unwieldy ladder. Dazed, they skim the nightmare around them with peppered eyes. They shiver under the powerless sun and draw closer to each other.

Lorg Dagg, the mountaineer and epic poet, looks wanly at his blonde-haired flunkey, Ed Alpo, and shrugs.

“Is this death?” he asks.

No answer, for Ed is mouthing lunatic platitudes to himself.

Far from this plain, the rest of those lands sat in motley forms: dim pastures, Pyrrenean rucks and crags, cracked meadows, thrilling waterdrops and cliffedge hamlets.

(…secret farms, hanging towns, bedewed fens and fells, shivery badlands, arable fields, granite and onyx escarpments, silver shores and strange inland seas.)

How, then, the Shift of the Infinite Steps? How did it become? Many a Harchwee merchant will take you aside to some dim chimney-corner in an overgrown drinking-place, and he will hiss the following words:

“There was a cliff over a great sucking sea and there was a thatched town upon this cliff. They built a tower upon this cliff to house a certain thing. And then – only steps would do.”

These bizarre mouthings hiss into silence and Ed, far off on this very Shift, sleeps beside his one-balled master.

Far from Harchwee, Ka and Toons, far over sharky seas, past Bluemanland (that may not even exist), there is the antimeadow snowlands of Egnis. Only snow whispers and nothing is silent. I will not continue this description for not even abominable snowmen grace these icy and worldless wastes.

Before leaving this set-scene arama, I must posit here a piece of traditional poetry that a Harchwee merchant has tongue enough for repetition. (Please excuse my hasty translation.):-

The Song of the Merchant

We sell the songs
That we heard in the Meadow –
A penny a piece,
A halfpenny for their shadow.

We sing the songs,
The meadow songs,
But we cannot dance,
We cannot dance.

We die, we live,
The forests are afire,
The heat is in the kiln
And our hymns are in the mire.

Have you heard this Meadowsong
Before you heard its tune
Have you heard the wings above –
They are coming much too soon.

We sell the songs
For your body and your heart
But before a note is struck
The Meadow is our tomb.

Strange be it, the labyrinth of our last scene, but, be assured, the skein is not as untrammelled as you think.

Lorg Dagg’s First Dream
By John Cheese and Charles Dipp

And what was the Scandalous Scandinavian’s dream? But, first, his name? The One-Balled? St Lorg Dagg? Abraham Bintiff? Desmond Lewis? Ed Alpo? The Shoulderwitch? The art Master? Simon Heman? Lord Dog? Juan Camembert? Daniel Swift? Jeremy Helix? Tommy Mica? Peter Jeffery? Clovis Camber? Tristan Camber? Mr Kane? Or pseudo-all-the-aforementioned? Or even John Cheese or Charles Dipp? Bartin Camber? One of the Gathering? Etepsed-Egnis? All of them? None of them? Some of them? Or pseudo-all-the-aforementioned? Or pseudo-all-the-aforementioned? Or pseudo-all-the-aforementioned?...

And that was his dream. His silly dream.

And what was Ed Alpo’s dream, Lorg’s blonde-haired flunkey, as he lay beside his master on the ‘Battleship Potemkin’ steps. He did not dream.

Strains of a Mahler symphony, expressing the end of Romanticism and the decadence of Germany as it was about to enter two disastrous World Wars, was mellifluous and flowing, a corrupt adagio exquisitely beautiful, a rank stream flowing into stagnant and sublime lakes. The collected works of Thomas Mann lined the bookshelves of a Victorian-style drawing room and around them hung the staring visages of gold-embossed oil paintings. As the symphony drew to a quiet end, the insistent ticking of a walnut-cased clock ominously kept the silence at bay. A bunned and golden-robed lady sat sedately beside the downward-hung drapes of purple curtains, closed and impervious to the outside. Suddenly, a well-dressed gentleman strode through the oaken and brass door.

“Rosemary, that’s it! War has been declared. The Balkans are afire and our men are to be bog-dwellers on some foreign field! Those Serbo-Croat pigs! That Kaiser, that thalidomide maggot! Those German cretins! Peace is to be denied, my dear.”

As his red and worried face worked over these tragic words, the clock continued its pregnant rhythm, its unrelenting tick-pause-tick.

“I never had it nor ever will,” was the lady’s considered response. She, carefully but energetically, rewound the cumbersome gramophone and placed another record upon its renewed wheeling. Beethoven’s Ninth aptly-paradoxically was heard beneath the hideous wearing of the old record.

The oxymoron was not lost on Latimer and he smiled as he sat beside his mistress.

“Open the curtains, my dear,” smiled the staunch Rosemary.

Latimer rose and pulled the gorgeous lengths of royal-purple curtains across the crisscross window. He peered through the lotto of panes. He drew in a sharp breath as his eyes drifted over endless expanses of Escherine steppery.

(written 1974)

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