scruta

Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

False Start #49

You want to know why poets suffer? Why they perversely grasp the sword of Damocles and bring it down upon their heads?

The greatest poets strike at what is most universal, and there is nothing more universal than suffering.

posted by ferret at 12:38 pm  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shanghai as a Bear Cub

The heat of mid-summer was stifling, and I journeyed to the woods looking for comfort. I was sitting by a fresh, mountain stream when I saw it. The cub was exhausted, dragging itself slowly towards the other side of the stream, panting with thirst. It was so tired that it didn’t notice me, or find me threatening. It suddenly slumped over, as if to pass out. I wasn’t sure whether it would make it to the stream or not, and I wanted to help it.

Thinking twice, I stayed where I was. You just don’t get involved in the affairs of a bear cub. You just don’t.

The mother is always around, and she is unforgiving.

posted by ferret at 12:18 am  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Li and Zhou: Wang Enters…

[Li and Zhou are having noodles outside of the office.]

Li

I’m not sure they had to go to that extreme and take down the maps.

Zhou

Well, what could they do? Go over it with a magic marker?

Li

Why didn’t they just put another map next to it?

Zhou

There can’t be any disputes about it, you know that.

Li

I suppose.

Zhou

Just because you like their food.

Li

I like the naan bread.

Zhou

You like more than that.

Li

I also like the things you mix with the naan bread, but it wouldn’t be the same without the naan bread.

Zhou

Do you see what I’m saying?

Li

Look this has nothing to do with my love for Indian food.

Zhou

So you admit it.

Li

I admit nothing.

[Wang, an internet censor walks over to the table and sees them talking.]

Wang

Hello, friends.

Li

Hi.

Zhou

Hello.

Wang

What are you working on? Something important?

Zhou

Well, we were just discussing -

Wang

I’m cracking down on the newest expression of freedom on the internet. People are chopping off the heads of characters to say “freedom.”

Zhou

Oh, I heard about that. It’s clever.

Wang

Yes, I bet you thought of it, didn’t you?

Zhou

No, of course not.

Wang

Of course not, you’d never be so clever.

Li

We’re just about to leave, Wang. I’m sorry, but we’ll have to have lunch some other time.

Wang

Going to spend the day nitpicking maps of China in newspapers?

Li

Well, yes.

Wang

That’s good. It affects a lot of people, the questions with the outlying provinces.

Li

Yeah-

Wang

I mean, it’s almost as important is internet issues, which affect all of China directly.

Li

I-

[Seeing Li is clearly agitated. Zhou tries to help him out:]

Zhou

Li, there’s that thing we have to do.

Li

Oh, yeah. Goodbye.

Wang

Goodbye!

Zhou

Goodbye!

[Li and Zhou walk out of the noodle shop.]

Li

Prick.

posted by ferret at 12:07 am  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

False Start #48

The only sin I know is feeling sorry for yourself.

posted by ferret at 12:39 am  

Friday, September 10, 2010

A ship, a fever dream

I had my own ship that could float across the water. It was my galleon of fortune, my caravel of luck with which I levitated above the crystalline lagoons, the dull brackwaters, the jagged inlets and the rack and tumble of storms.

I was the captain of the world, and I tucked its treasures in my pocket, letting the seams bulge with the weight.

When I came upon a port to unload my treasure, the stevedores sniggered at me. They were dressed strangely – their caps full of butterfly wings, their coats the concatenation of chrysalis shells.

“Why are you laughing?” I said.

“For change and hardship! For hardship and change!”

I shouted at them, “Don’t you know who I am? Have you not seen my exploits? I who have conquered the seas with my ship that floats high above the world? I do not fear anything. I do not fear death.”

And they howled at me, abusing me with derision saying, “Oh, you’ve conquered death? But that’s the easy part. It’s life that will change you. It’s life that will kill you. Do you not fear that? You who float above it all. Bring your ship down!”

Haughtily I brought my ship to the ocean and felt it sink in the waves. The wooden planks creaked with the weight of the world. My pockets burst at the seams, and I flung my arms forward to catch the treasures that came spilling down, suddenly losing their luster, looking worthless.

I looked at my arms then. I looked at my own body, strangely gnarled with growths, the lichens of age feasting on my skin. I’d been floating for so long I was unaware of them. I had the thought that maybe I’d missed everything, that my life hadn’t changed enough, and I gasped.

As I did, butterflies seemed to burst out from the cargo holds. I didn’t know that they were even there.

posted by ferret at 3:50 pm  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A New Word, A French Lesson

ga-vage [guh-vahzh; Fr. ga-vazh] - noun, forced feeding, as by a flexible tube and a force pump.

(Many thanks dictionary.com!)

[Ferret and Wilder are talking as Wilder writes down his phone number in Ferret's book. Ferret suddenly interjects.]

Ferret

Oh, there’s a new word I learned today. I think it’s French.

[Ferret points to the word "gavage" written in his book. Wilder's eyes bulge and he snickers.]

Wilder

Oh yes, that’s French.

Ferret

Yeah.

WIlder

Oh, you know what it means, right?

Ferret

Well, yeah.

[Ferret ponders the meaning of Wilder's smile.]

Ferret

I mean it can be used sexually, right?

Wilder

[incredulous]

What?

Ferret

Well, you know. I thought it could be used sexually as well.

Wilder

Well, not unless you’re doing it with a duck! Or one of those… what’s it called in English? The thing you use to make foie gras?

Ferret

A goose.

Wilder

Yeah. A goose.

Ferret

Oh, I just thought there’d be some dirty saying with it.

Wilder

Look, not everything in French has to do with sex.

Ferret

Haha, okay.

posted by ferret at 11:48 pm  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Music of the Stars

Jazz is like astronomy; pop is like astrology.

The keepers of both despise each other, but find themselves consumed with wonder:

One says, How could such knowledge of the universe be so precise and exacting?

The other says, How could so many people rally around something so simple? So generic?

posted by ferret at 10:53 pm  

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