--King Lear, III, iv, 17-20With no true mouth at birth, you early grew used to feeding through a tube, stretched out, allowing sustenance to pour in slow and warm.
The effects of a rift in the center of the face:
Unfinished spot engenders a need to merge self with self, to fuck souls. Oral cavity and nostril flange get artificially stitched when they're supposed to flap in incubator breezes. The sense of humor manifests itself as a bend or rift in the mind's connective tissue -- flash-flood gorges, Wadis Kidron, gutters for ram blood cracked in the salted desert.
The psyche ends like cities built on tectonic faults, or novels scrawled on self-cannibalizing sheets, impregnated, like someone's nervous system, with caustic substances, to speed pulping processes.
Outside the chicken-wired nursery window, the mountains' spring snow is a chipped circle: the sugar-crusted rim of a milk cup -- except for a gap, north-by-northeast.
You hadn't the instinct to suck your fetal thumb. Nothing with which to suck, no place to house the appetency.
Don't you recall how she mouthed your fingers and bit your nails, so no sutures snagged as you lay, cribbed, undulating your tongue to the breast pump's click and suck?
2. Eugenic Admonition
To the dusty little fifteen- or sixteen- or seventeen- or eighteen-year-old girl, leaning against the bulletin board outside Zippy Mart in the nighttime, displaying her lobster claw.
Your parents do not love you. I can tell from the way the stuffing is coming out of your parka. I'll bet your dad is military. I'll bet you gestated around someplace nuclear.
Congenital or inherited, somatic or chromosomal -- enormous difference there: one, you're Daughter of the Age, the other you're inbred. In either case, never doubt that lobster claw betrays some corresponding bend or rift in the essential fiber, as they say, of your very soul. That lobster claw happens to be you.
Lean for hours outside Zippy Mart, and watch people to see if their eyes blench away. Until someone with singular tastes -- not necessarily old or filthy, but suffering what we like to call self-image problems -- comes along and gives you a ride and winds up examining your specialty very closely.
We have to assume you were born that way for some reason, just for the sake of discussion. If what you have to do is bent, at least it is not trite. You are not trite, though once you were in vogue among the scribbling types of the previous generation. Like for example me.
I didn't flinch away. I got a good, long, careful look one lonesome finger -- and/or thumbnail peeping out from under a hood of wrinkles, clipped back. Webs of pores in weird configuration with flecks of grit.
I knew you wanted me to. And the only reason I didn't say hello, is that I never do.
Whatever becomes of you, do keep in mind that you are an organism. Maybe more than most. Claim your individual rights as an organism, and much of your personal discomfort may be avoided.
That you're outside Zippy Mart already at your age seems auspicious.
3. Hugh of Provo
child, I halsen thee,
--Prioress' Tale, 645-8A disturbed adolescent, daughter of inbred survivalist neighbors, creepy-crawls our backyard with her cat. She steals our few grape wads and leaves spoor among the unmown pear mush: Marie Osmond-brand perfume atomizers, toy Tampax tubes.
Even allowing for accelerated maturation rates among rural polygamist females, I estimate she's too old for toys. Every night, all night, her ashen cat copulates with everything furred the neighborhood has to offer, under our bagged air conditioner, though my wife sleeps clear through.
Sometimes these two marauders seep through the drapes in vaporous form and reintegrate on the skin of my chest, where the larger, more anthropomorphic one squats in a vulgar position, something furred, taloned, coiling around her plump limbs.
She hisses in my ear:
Medieval times are coming to your neighborhood, Tom. Your Catholic spouse, who accepts spirits and so can dismiss them, will snore through it all. But you, you aging acid head, with your hoed rows of secular humanist psilocybin cubensis, you're in for it. Walpurgisnacht will erupt in your darkness, not mushrooms.
We will turn into a sweet-singing boy, and you into a Jew. The fiberglass of your greenhouse will melt down into a cesspool, and we'll see who seduces whom.
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/bradleytrio.html]
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