The Maze of the Seven Glands – Lenny Boyle

The Fifth Gland

        Dusk’s rosé-coloured digits, through a corridor, of shoulder blade swing-doors, flushed—from chaste to strange enticements—scarlet the guttering of café-candles feeling up, in a rotted diagonal, a pile of old food.

        I should have liked to consume that mound of withering matter. My weariness was no longer joyful but in fact frightening. I should eat it. That material was required to face what was not.

        The various, or varied, bodies, and faces, of that harvested—the rules regarding nakedness did not apply to her tightest troupe—complexly disseminated, singularity, that smuggled me inside, positioning me before her, before the café-table, before affixing themselves in her wake, were disgusting to look at: even worse through the blushing resplendence; rendered sickly, rendered ghastly, really, somehow saccharine, so I’d have vomited my contents if I had them—it is at night I eat; as I’ve outlined, seven times. I could taste their sugar faces. But this day nerves had wrung out any energy long before this. What was left to be vomited out, of me, in terms of matter, were only internal organs—but certain fervid hopes. These had been suscitated by my dreams. Those, of course, which house my visions.

        Madame La T-Shirt understood this weakness, had promised she’d condone my eating off the floor. But it was her that did the holding—she’d also intimated she would let me hold her if I came at the appointed hour and took the vision; perhaps she was feigning ignorance of the logistics but it would have to be before.

        Which, of course, vision, did not have to be specified. I had seen the building with the plumbing on the outside. This was that thing hot and luscious, but blank, arguably dead, that wanted in me.

        My personal relationship with that ancient dam, the vile hopes I had nurtured, my wish to be consumed by her materially, maternally, these disgusting plans had led me to this/to,

        “Yes, Mystery—Yes, Beauty—Yes, Reality. I have seen the Maze of the Seven Glands,” I shot my wrists; tore the collar to allow the neck its infinity, “I have received, I have received such a vision. That eternity—the Seven. I have seen—the building with the plumbing on the outside… the Seven glands…

[The Sixth Gland

        It changed over my head as I entered; I’d gone in the plumbing without knowing. I see the outside and the in at the same—doors, stairs, walls, corridors, night; a night that’s a playing wanting; a perception that’s a rhythm.

        In the layers and gradations of that blankness there is a thing that isn’t there that wants itself forever.

        The window with the Seven Glands where they tell their stories, to each other, forever, in that circular—in the—in that fashion that their bodies now are, I see this as well, together: I hear the fever wagon. There are stairs that take you down into a square pool, at the centre of a circle one; at the centre of a square one, two circle ones, and a circle one two squares. There is a ceiling, two walls, a floor, and a door, and a mean angle. What surrounds it is blank, and—infinite; if a consciousness/a space/a place of worship can be that or/just repetition—and a window/and…] and this:

The First


        I leapt, it was meant, it was there, it was impossible.


        I’d never be fast enough to catch—there was no one there.


        Unmistakably/unmistakably, alone, in my room, behind my head—“Ahugh.”

        A cough.

        Back; behind; the angles; I checked them in instants, worsening the pain in my neck.



        Darting for it—the shapeshifting mould in the angles that resembled, again, obscene dangling organs, obscene organs, each: obscene dangling, hanging-out organs.

        It has it’s own language—worse it has its own rhythm: the cough.

        I begged for expulsion, that rhyme; the language; the typewriters that work themselves in the miniscule factories, I heard them, but that was different: from a word they formed my body, from my body—it was them I heard? No, it was the—“Ahugh.”—wrenched off my feet like a giddy horse by the stab in my neck; my throat—I’ve never delineated the difference. I cannot cough! Biologically impossible. Shut it—it’s notI’ve remained ignorant of the parts of the body on purpose!

        My drawings have the power, still, to induce catalepsy—forgetting where the chain of my thoughts had dragged me and why, I stared dumbly in the door-less cupboards—but the portion of humanity who seek their, its symptomatic paralysis, spiritual sustenance from anything beyond, sentimental dreck, hagiographies of the disfigured, has never been large enough to live off. I’d love to live off them. Given the chance I’d exploit. The disgusting things I drew only ever sold to those temporarily rich from games of hazard, or those for whom thieving is one of their illness’s predominating manias.

        But the former always come back for their winnings, and what you got from the latter was never truly yours. Between stabbing pains in my throat I couldn’t remember, or anything else, the last I had sloughed; I’d peddled off the filth of a generic consciousness: it was, at times, merely, forgetting—nor why—“Ahugh.”

        The cough!

        I leapt—to the angles!

        I leapt—to the windows, obscured not yet fully—a man of coats and sleeves was clambering in—by the night. Hysterical, I giddied at every angle—but a language, yes. The language of the gullet. The rhythm of the bowels. No, the pain in my neck. The throb in my glands. Ceaseless forgetting. A rhythm; yes, a rhythm; a rhythm.


        I leapt, it was meant, it was there, it was impossible.


        I’d never be fast enough to catch—there was no one there.


        Unmistakably/unmistakably, alone, in my room, behind my head—“Ahugh.”

        A cough.

The Third Gland

        “Not here! Pyacht, no!” Pyacht, she says, but right in me, Pyacht. “It’s bad enough they were in; fashioned in—your home, but understand it, Pyacht—the eyes are the windows to the bowel, and there is a smell in this room to which only you are habituated.

        “Beside the disgusting ideas here contained,” she shook my opus at me, with the minimum contact—before the minimum contact, required, she realised, was nil, and thrust it down my shirtfront, “These things: leaflets, booklets, your printings, pamphlets,” she spat too, all too palpably, “the disgusting things you have somehow inveigled the resources for printing—a discount for stink?—are impregnated, not with babies, do not leap in here!, but with the various and renowned reeks of your abode, your flat, the rat-scratched warren of a cur, where you bide,” to a burst, all around us, of deafening spitting: it was laughter, “but, of, and, you see, your personal ones, which are the most corrosive; the most corrupt—corrupting in their chaotic variety; manifold as the public experiments of your dissolution. You are some kind of libertine. What kind, precisely, you have managed, against your own preference, to keep secret—who can be bothered to read between the lines, and the lines, of your writings, really. Suffice it: you are a dirty man, Pyacht, and not merely in terms of your reprehensible, if deeply revealing of your character, ideas; the ideas here contained.” She had nothing to waggle, I smirked, spat in my mouth, but had to swallow. I had not the vinegar for expulsion. I would not challenge her in that company, let alone alone. I kept everything in; knowing however, knowing everything—swallowing shamelessly/shamefully; I assuaged myself, that it was not just me: the entity did not exist that could humble her.

        “May I sit in the corner and write?”


        Complete nullity swallowed her servant.

        The temerity. She couldn’t. What had she seen at night? In it. I had to ask. And yet she was shocked by my facelessness. My jottings are sinful—it’s not that you can’t conceive the categories of her perceptual system. I have my own: it lays in the lines behind, playing, filling, in the moments before… you say it’s nothing. Instead of the wanting. Instead of the nothing that wants, that wants. It wants. And what? And in its wanting, it wants, and—in its wanting, its sick rhymes, its horrible doggerel, its strange verses, its—of wanting—ill rhythms; telling you it doesn’t exist; even as your veins expand, and your cheeks flush, and you giddy, and you neigh with it, and you buck, and you sway with it, and you whinny and jerk—inflame!, and sing and rush and ring and rapid, and you worship its bucking rhythm.

        But as soon as that metre.

        It’s not the first I’ve heard its metre, it’s… despicable nonsense verses.

        And when I’m mad.

        But it’s real and behind. Behind it. Behind everything. Reality. Everything is that horrible doggerel and its absurd metre.

        But hers, her perceptual system, the categories she arbitrarily foisted upon reality—no choice but to imbibe them in her place: The Greasy Palimpsest. The Greasy Palimpsest. The café, with the accent on the letter. Did she see it as well? There—or was she too busy with the mysterious and complicated nature of her own being—and, a series of related matters, her form. But her place—she couldn’t believe I had the acid piss to rebel in it, against it, her scheme, there. But I have seen it, I knew: I have seen what it wants to—preserve me.

        It wants to rhyme.

        But it was—the Onomastico?—a special day. I had that sense already. She’d told me, in the same breath, consciousness is only… words. In combinations.

        “You may sit in that corner, over there, beside the hole in the wall.” She indicated the plaque: Hole 2: Offered Meekly by the League of Lepers.

        “There is a wind off Mr Dalprlirn’s toilet,” she enjoyed eradicating my self-esteem with these little witticisms of the obvious, “and that should somewhat mask what’s airborne off you—your bits, your pits, and your vestments.” So she’d seen. Under my jerkin; my toy-plastic thermals; my rubber udders for the heat, I’d hidden my vestments, and so she had seen them. “But I warn you,” she stabbed her giant wing, “if you put pen to paper; juice upon your epidermis…” and displayed the thing that was, or in, her wing’s talon—but I knew all about that already. I knew all about her smile too, and her apple cheeks, and her little glimpses… and beyond that who can even see her face…

        “… disposing of your body. Even over that mysterious cult—organised to dispose—these powers loom. In less disputed terms: our leavings. They too want under—they want—the curtain in the dump, too; who should ever doubt it; not relevant what it is; how wet you’ve—how wet you’ve finally, you concur, you’ve got it; the drenched spirit, Pyacht—you’re having a fit; the sodden curtain, the turning curtain, the purple curtain: it was you devised, distributed, the biological wording. The velvet curtain of your sodden soul. These turns of phrase, you claim as spirit, the nauseating chanting, who hasn’t had it, the repetitions, outside, haven’t they suffered enough, windows, as you claim, you claim as spirit—it goes too. The curtain,”

        A centre gyred one way within, “how irreparably wet you’ve,” a black pit that whirled the other, “got it. They too want under. They all want… they all want there.”

        But it was true. They all want under. They too want under. They all want there. “There’s a lot of room under!”

        She spun and her sleeves and her dresses flew, and her dresses flew, and several leapt, for joy; deliverance; they got clappy; they got silly; everybody was silly now, and everybody ceased their sipping now, and everybody decreased their spitting, and the day of consciousness had arrived, and everybody was happy now, because it was true, it was true, finally, now, that they were experiencing consciousness.

        “Over your interior horror, also, it looms—but you are that, aren’t you—you interior horror, an interior horror; but any old money, any old money: any old money; any colourful pennies; any pennies; any pennies; any pennies, brown, any pennies, red, any pennies, brown, any pennies, red? Pennies brown/pennies red/pennies brown/pennies red, never mark—what they said—pennies brown, pennies red?”

        Black pennies, and brown pennies, and yellow pennies, and red: mark and matter the old man is spreading; mark and matter, Nurse said.

        Black pennies, and brown pennies, and yellow pennies, and red: the black tap’s tapping the high man’s retching. She’s off her head.

        Black pennies, brown pennies, yellow pennies, red pennies: Little Highslye has the last one bedding—quick! pray he were dead.

        Black pennies, brown pennies, yellow—the wet key’s let off the matte door’s setting: rest. Keep her down you said.

        A grossly and inexplicably well-off matron had paid me for dressing her sores. I did feet on the main but—“Scramble!” and I snatched, and pocketed, and the pennies flew; and she dallied, I didn’t dillydally, I fled, sustaining welts, evacuating, edgeways, skittering—there was little else for which you could charge. Not the manifestos. They will never pay for their betterment. I’d learned that before, in the past, long ago, back in time. No wonder I stank. No wonder I had a stink. Everyone said there—she’d even said it. The niceties aren’t—they’re not endangered: dead; everything’s said—everything’s dead. To your face.

        And no—there was no one habituated to it.


        “Show me it.”

        I did and I was—petrified—permitted. “Move along, move along.” She threatened to take flight.

        But for that matron there is a panoply—we all see her through the list of our own secondary-metaphors; everyone regards her through their own marriage veil of horribly personal allegories. She breeds hundreds.

The Fourth

/Gland Two

        Oh, they get them greasy, in. In there. Wheee.

        They get them greasy, in. In there. Tonight.

        Under all the nothing that rises. Wheee.

        An evil beard? A dirty beard. Tonight.

        He doesn’t want to start me; doesn’t he

        Want to set me; doesn’t want to know me,

        What can he know? and make me wheee, flyeee…

        and… marks and matter and marks and matter;

        and marks and matter and marks and matter—

        It’s the works—dangling. It is the nothing

        That clothes? Nothing, kiss us back; oh, in; in;

        Turning; a turning; oh, they get them, in

        Greasy!; all they get is in. What flavour.


        You could rhyme off everything and nothing regarding their hanging images, their folk representations, their dangling cloths. Holding it above my face, I sought to compel the usual desensitised acceptance of it: what they’d made of the ceiling. It was rags, or—on this, I cannot lie: it was cloth dollies. I watched them sway in their own wind. It hadn’t got up there from off Mr Dalprlirn’s ambiguous marshy toilet shed and surrounds—that bawdy mummer’s raunchy duchy—I ventured, pouring the grey sauce, not without involuntary resistance, some, and painful trembling, down my own main face tube. But that self-perpetuating substance kept me upright. Kept us all going.

        Suddenly terrified—like first I’d seen him—by the Great Work, the demands of what animated me, I recalled I’d been forbidden from putting anything down: but really, it was an expensive haemorrhoid ointment, tactfully reapplied, for the soul, that I was neither permitted to scribble, scribble, scribble, or scribble.

        Their ignorance is despicable now. My best years, my favourite organs: taken, taken, for—I disguised my furtive suppressions and glances as fidgets—the central arcing structure of reality. The all-thing. The consuming ontological structure:

        Dogs have no souls.

        Dogs have no souls.

        Dogs have no souls.

        I whispered it, aloud—dutifully—at the volume of my voice:

        “They have no souls.”

        “Shut it! Shut your trap!”

        Whatever else they might have, it was—no souls—my mission to inform the world of it.

        “Please, may I scatter the leaflets and designs?” I rose, same time shouting from the bottom of my gut pocket.

        “Seal the trap, Pyacht.” She barely glanced up from plotting with those who—whose existence, did not reverse her innards. Unlike most of us she was not riled by what was arguably a part of her. Who could say they were not one flesh? I had heard the whispers as well as the rest. I stood most nights outside, never the same—not always incanting, windows. I couldn’t—open to let out what was—“Nothing happened, nothing happened, nothing happened in the dark.”—in. I was not immune to it. I had heard the phrases, the same phrases, almost verses, doggerels, incoherent, terribly strange verses, doggerels, primitive verses, poems in verse, doggerels, it’s been said, doggerels, it’s been said, repeated; verses, in verse, repeated. I listened.

        It’s the common usage.

        I would never be one of her elect, this I had known for decades, swallowing the sauce that made itself, below the canteen. But to bask in her, to bask in her, to bask in her, beneath her, to bask in the only thing I knew for certain existed. Beneath. Beneath.

        Before me, beneath her. Beneath her. In her matter. In the lunatic scale of it. Enough.


        This was enough. She was particularly dappled, yes, separable, today—that ancient structure. And if some of my work was for her, specifically for her—who was a finer distillation of our culture?

        I had many metaphors. Through illusion I’d reach her reality. But only the Great Work. Only the apotheosis could provide access to it. And the monopoly, the monopoly over what pooled out of itself beneath—we should share access: its rippling surface, its widow’s gin/its mother’s grin, we should share access, and our rule would be munificent!

        Enough, enough, enough, dolly, enough. This scabby café is not vast enough for such dreaming.

        Ignoring what else I was beginning to detect from through the hole to Mr Dalprlirn’s, broadly speaking, toilet, I shoved myself deeper:

        But, then—only a few ideas had to be clarified and we—she was fond of that breed without souls—our culture, we should approach what would be glorious!


        “Shut it!” All between us froze: “Silence, Pyacht—shut it.”

        I quivered, and sucked deeply the sated halitosis off Mr Dalprlirn’s… Mr Dalprlirn’s spoilt cabinet facade and fen, wafted willy-nilly out that epicure… that epicure’s despicable sanctum sanctorum.


        “I know this one! It’s Chancey!”

        They cleared a space.

        [“It ups, it ups; it quicks, it quicks! It rounds, it rounds; it downs, it downs.”]

        He entered the vacancy made for him.

        “It ups, it ups; it quicks, it quicks. It rounds, it rounds; it downs, it downs.”

        It was something primal, the way his body moved; the nightmare before civilisation; the first feeble-minded interaction with the infinite, a dance, no less; love-making, in its fashion, with nothing; with words. It brought the boke, one would have preferred to purge against that perversity better acted out in forests and caves.

        “It ups, it ups; it quicks, it quicks. It rounds, it rounds; it downs, it downs.”


        I had seen one in the shadows—a dog—I don’t like to say that word that means god, and it spoke to me. Speaking hounds, we’ve seen it all, dolly! Speaking.

        Its cruel yap informed me in my flat I was merely a body—it is not language that separates one from what’s beneath, what’s beneath one, it’s the least of it—a dolly—but I knew this before. The Committee for the Insistence that Dogs Have No Souls, CIDHNS, had already been formed. Years, I had sensed its coming for—I knew my business.

        Praying for a whole new system of perception, no longer able to suppress it, I could—through the antic portal to Mr Dalprlirn’s flagrant, fragrant, bog hovel—hear, see, sense, interpret, almost taste, a couple of them quipping: quipping at each other; inhaling each other’s jacksies; taking the turns with the other’s jacksies; teeth tripping tongue for the excavation of the mutual jacksies; huffing the devils’ nappies that were each other’s bucking jacksies; exchanging their bizarre kisses. I watched them with the existential hatred more typical of gravediggers.

        Their malignity was plain to see, but as a man of letters, as for them, personally, I couldn’t very well personally go around personally strangling pooches. It’s on the plane of ideas that these battles are waged—red pennies—won.

        “Stop twitching, blinking!”

        That tack had been tacitly undermined, in my conflabs with their master, the master of the hounds, as the fruitless escapade I always—but I had always known it would be—he only ever tells you what you already know. Butchers your bucking pits with it—the same uncovered; the same repeated; the scary things—when I see his body spinning—and what he holds in his hands. And how does he hold them?

        And how does he spin.

        Spinning with the cloth dollies ringing, spinning them, all around him.


        The stranglings in more naïve personal epochs I’d planned, and—they’d lock me up for it—occasionally executed, it was still a crime even if the perfunctorily concealed killing of actual gentlemen was no longer considered such. Madame La T-shirt was far from the only massive dinner lady with the powers of religious hypnotism.

        I watched them all at the till circle, all of them, circle. I could see no gaps. Still I had detected no gap. I was beginning to doubt I ever should.

        I echoed their own movements in the stirring of the sauce—at the cup on which I’d sketched mystery—making a figure-eight I ensured no one else could witness.

        At that moment, however, further reflections were prevented from reaching, thankfully, me by the surprising screaming of a diagnosed psychotic.

        A victim of some new horror had entered screaming, and below indeed was what he was screaming. I have it all perfect, even without jotting it down for later laughs. I could not risk the infernal dowager, who rules my days, interpreting my/any scribbling for the work of the Committee:

The Fourth One: The/


        Madame La—celebrated queen of our dinner—din din lady, and the rest, were declaiming upon the evening’s entertainment. These separate ones had captured a visionary—had anyone seen them part to do it? They had him and the vision already, very large, they enjoyed hinting at it—he’d recount it in front; his ruination. They’d make him—so vast in fact they’d wear special designs: hard enough, as it was, in jackets, to sausage their sausages, limbs and torsos, mouths and nether-danglers (not the usual, for such a vision, they didn’t let those visionaries enter either); outfits that could be easily wiped off. Or perhaps they’d said this—I supposed. I forget—I thought. I forgot. With good reason; he’d leave all, the catch/his catch, his liquids, if not then surely most, and surely several, their marks and matter, sure, upon those—and sundry—and standing, nearby, sitting, their marks and matter, sundry, upon the floor; lucky devils, it’s true, the walls, sure/surely, atop the tubes, it’s true, lucky beggars; the very tops of the plaguy tables, on their fronts, on their bottoms, and on the very very already stinky dirty tables.

        Snickering as they mouthed the names of their favourite human liquids, I tried to take part in conviviality, the conviviality, some conviviality, secretly—in a fashion—I said them too.

        I was forbidden from listening. I was very low to them, and all I could claim, tenuously, with—a measure, anyway: measure it—a measure of, I thought, realism, and reality, to afford, was a cup of the Lady’s famous grey plip, plip, plip; plop, plop, plop; plip, plip… plop… plop.

        But the discussion had turned to an agreed premise. An item the patrons, those more or less explicitly attached and not, desperately distracted themselves with: so as to not too closely, but again, under lids, rather closely, observe, at the counter—“I am!” quella madre magnificente, “Mother!” but not solely, secure herself in position.

        At first her body frightens. Its age. Its peculiar beauty. Its strangeness. Its shape. Its difficult delineations. Its terrifying dimensions—its resemblance to a final reckoning with the real.

        But a sly one whistled, “A clumsy hint at a tepid mystery: the Beard-Eater. Yes, the Beard-Eater. As if on purpose, you have dangled a sinister, with its own whiff, replica of the Beard-Eater—we know who he is.” This preamble had never before been dangerous—“There are people going around trying to frighten people.”—but something had changed in our common reality. The fact it had could not surprise—but that I had not noted it: this was that thing terribly, terribly disconcerting about my inability to relate to, interpret, and recall, the common real. This, substantially, was what had ruined me enough for the cough.

        I’d sought the resurrection of this/the body in The Greasy Palimpsest, but—another spoke and I forgot: “No—actually not, Friend. The Beard-Eater—but you aren’t, in all verity, cataloguing the inside as part of the other lot.” A trick, then—I couldn’t remember what had preceded—something like a trick. He was—I watched his—nude as a newborn anyway apart from his—“Sleeves!”

        But the one with knowledge of the Beard-Eater, you could see his panic at losing his place in the pecking order. He could afford no further extension from the distance off the paps; her dugs (I no longer have the cerebral plasticity to understand what is and is not literal, of course) bark—but he: he finished; invoked, “The Maze.”

        Not to be out done, that marvellous dam—nothing her appendages knew that she did not; crush them/crush them: “Oh, he is certainly one of the Seven.” She finished his sentence: she finished for him—she finished him. She finished him. She finished all of us: that holy moiety from whom we acquire, and to whom we offer, our scant repasts.

        “The Seven Glands, yes,” continued the tricker, “and despite his rubbishy torment; he is certainly one of the most—the most in power. Perhaps the.” No points for poetry, his bloodshot balls said glassily. I despise his—despite his rubbishyness: he certainly has such power. What power? And who and what and who and—I thought, have I forgotten, or did I ever know?

        She distributes her wisdom.

        But this hint of arcane discrimination; knowledge of larger secrets that, only, gave unto more, rendered the group of tiny acolytes ecstatic in silent religious jangle making. That I’d forgotten all that preceded only increased my rapture.

        Something clicking, something ringing, something clacking, something rhyming—yes: some kind of blood; some kind of rhythm in blood; a blood rhyme, a blood rhythm, transfused blood, insane blood, a covenant in blood, a rhyme in blood, the rhyme of blood—our veins squirt blood; they squirt its speaking, its joy in blood—inside bowels and guts, and fecund guts, and juicy guts, and foul guts, and the juices of guts; in the organic gush of death, and blood, it was coming; flowering; it was rhyming, it was rhyming, tambourining, the altar bells, the altar bells, tambourining, deafening, every one of them, deafening, tambourining, the altar bells, the altar bells, the altar bells, the altar bells, in. To worship it. Like nature demands: this knowledge would come only to those who least deserved it. They’d learn the wonderful thing when they slit it. The visionary. That was it. Let me kill him too.

        “Ahugh,” I recalled, and punched hard the emptiness in back of me.

        But—admitting they saw me would demean them.

        Memory, sweet one, memory.

        My neck in agony: sharp blossoms inflamed the nerves up the back of my head. I could almost see them. What I imagined was inside my—neck; what one had to agree was inside my, at least—neck. What had started in my—neck; my throat, I said, I believed, was in every nerve now. That was enough, but—I could recall the cough; feel it about, to, direct, behind, again, do: “Ahugh.”

        No wonder I was pavid.

        They knew—there’s never any respite from what awaits you in your flat: but as for matters less disgracefully philosophical—they could see it. With their rat-a-tat-tat-cunning they could read it out my brain. They could see its writing. They could hear its clicking! And its clacking and its horrible rhythm and its rhyme rhyme rhyme, but I—but something not yet atrophied burst: “What is a Beard-Eater?” got out—speech of all kinds had become nightmarish.

        One of the youngest—if the term was not immediately senseless applied to the parsed appendages of that accumulation, in some kind of, presumably, challenge to the head-acolyte, I hadn’t the cerebellum for the abstruse doctrines of that culture, barked, “Not ‘a.’ The. The Beard-Eater,” let it!—the physiologically mandated prerequisites of that cluster; the barely perceived, fleetingly apprehended metaphysics necessitated by that conglomeration—barked his indignation through clouds of sputum, “Not ‘a.’ The. The Beard-Eater, he is a local man.” The others suppressed feverish snickers when he said this, this part—Local Man—they hadn’t wanted to giggle—not within the weird rules of the weird displays required, required by her, by the/by that eidolon, that idol of derangement, the derangement, already inherent in matter: the patroness of The Greasy Palimpsest, not normal, but apparently this too, this categorisation, it was irresistible, he was a Local Man.

        Local bought for local pay

        The Local Man has come to spray

        Outside, they say, but now he’s in

        His head falls through his dirty chin

        Haven’t we seen! haven’t we prayed

        But the Local Man’s already sprayed

        Who knew why, then, the tricker-one deigned to address me, “You haven’t a bad one yourself, it’s yellow and crusty, I am sure, but the Beard-Eater doesn’t judge these matters the way sane men are ordinarily behoved to. He would eat that off your face, Carpet—and then you would find out, now, Carpet—now wouldn’t you? Carpet, wouldn’t you? But so would he.”

        Mechanical self-consciousness; the rote techniques I’d no choice but to exploit, in seemingly every exchange—against the terror of how public disgrace permits their doing you—were, while seldom anything other than disastrously self-destructive, sometimes arguably not definitively suicidal: “One of these… that goes around trying to frighten people?”

        Strapped in position, Madame La T-Shirt’s invisible actions beneath, partially inside, the counter, shook the Screaming Tower; the entire café; her marvellous shouting:

        “One of these that goes around trying to frighten people?”

        Now, then.

        Along with her acolytes, I was too, we all shifted from under it—but not really, if my meaning can be expressed. Pushed to clarify, I perhaps mean our shadows; our ghosts. She could crush—me—and this indeed would be the escape I was searching for. This? Was it this? Was it now? Oh, was it now? What was now?

        And what would it mean to be beneath, to be crushed—what weird sphere would I be compressed into it, inside it, into it, into living in it—into what being in it.


        “You are one of these that goes around trying to frighten people.”

        “I am?” Might explain it. But, technically, and did she mean just technically?


        To exacerbate it, this.

        The mystic hymn of the gullet.


        I couldn’t pick out which of her little one’s said it, or if it had been; I thought it had been—our best waggle in the buff—then. Or is it now? Not that it mattered, among that amorphous mass, equal of course to the patroness, in terms of physical matter—merely repetitions, were they, and replications, simplifications, of that other—I too underwent the common awe, observed in the few other non-attached patrons, regarding the equality: the religious balance in the matter that weighed between. Only her expressed individuality made her more powerful. Was it this? What? I’d forgotten. I had a beautiful idea but now it’s gone, I thought. And what would happen to worlds if those entities clashed? Was it this? Thankfully for that Madame of distributed wonder, centrifugal derangement, centripetal enticements, no central, counteracting, will could be cohered from her dependents.

        They are an equivocally individuated amalgam.

        Silence expanded beyond the interiors when she: “I would like to say to you,” outside the crows and the black gull-crakes, the craws and the ravers, the spite-bags, the pigeon-snakes, the crulls, the pass-by scarers, the leerers, the scare-jakes, the haps: the cheek-and-smile sprayers; those without names; faces; hands; perceivable attributes—the hackdaws, the pearly-wakes—material, or structures, the others; their waltzes, their balls, they slowed everything so still and lifeless, dead, they mute their pa-rum-pum-pum-pum, their pantomimes, mummed, every one of them, of the outside; its forms and manifestations; marks; its matters of the outside: that, outside, grotesque; that, wondrous, tempest; that naïve work of man and nature; that beautifully sad distraction of the last, desperate, fanfaronade, “I know you have not the means to buy what you have already, with disturbing caution, swallowed—you have sieved your pickings for the last, and we are more than burned out upon the pathos of your designs. But it’s a bad day of mercies. We are enjoying—can you understand it? Have you forgotten? Can you, sweet one, can you, little Carpet, remember the premise; the prevision; the preface? Are you lost? Are you fessed? Are you fasted? Sacrificed. It’s the special day. My—the name day; the… Onomastico… the day of

the Fifth Gland,

        in the never separable backdrop to her, to it, undisguised wonder stood behind observation: a haze of perceptual games and ceaseless [re]interpretations that dragged in her wake. Something fought to align in it, but it was discarded again in the act of her observation, disappearing in her own interpretations of reality, in her own looking out from behind, or partially inside, and inside, the counter, the Screaming Tower, propped up, her many dependents diagonally reclining in the shadows of it; of her, I realised, like fish.

        She was aroused by my face, its easy allusions to interior, nasty strangeness. The source of which, I contend, always, is not I; but they do, the things I receive, like rubbish food and old food, the old, to the rhythm of its own strange bowels, eventually, go through me—if not without further ruining the parts with which they are temporarily, in the wicked manner of these things… espoused.

        I returned to her staring my own observation, observation of her disgust: observation that was disgust; a mirror, transformed, back, like hers, to wonder.

        “And so it’s true you’ve seen it, Visionary?”

        “And what have I seen, Mrs Lady Blouse/Madame La T-Shirt?”

        “Not just your own nasty preconceptions. Not metaphor—I am saying ideas. Abstractions; interpreted; discarded, and observed, in the lines.”

        A response was forming between layers of a black—but not at the rate required by that mother of millions—interior.

        “ Quickly, fool, you’ve seen it?”

        I felt something hot and luscious, something pretending to be death, trying to get in me. Some kind of rhyming wanting; some—strange structure in verse; a rhythmic, a lecherous, a lying blankness.

        Darkness, imprecisely separated by the guttering dimness, in gradations, in layers, transposed through a grid, her godly edifice.

        I hadn’t seen her get there, but she was sitting, next me, seated, when she said it, closer than comfort permitted—not close enough for many of the personalities with whom I fought most ardently—acolytes, those not helping prop her, hidden in some exterior or interior bit of it.

        Her age was monstrous, and terrifying. Her body was knowledge that had petrified. But of course I had no idea what she was talking—what it is to be a visionary: whether or not I had lived it; whether or not these visions were in fact lived by me, or had to be; merely recounted, or there was a fashion in which they were, and relived; not merely by me, recounting that was reliving; indeed, some kind of inadequate, but this is my view, immortality in the repetition; or would be, or there was a vision so big it was an entire—in the repetitions of it; in its repeating—afterlife.

        It was this? The only thing left unincorporated? The only mystery, the last organ of wisdom?

        I nearly shook; something shifted: the fear of falling down; what would happen when she—was it possible she had not—knew—dreamed it? even in it.

        Despite her dissembling, everyone knew her knowledge was: eschatological; teleological, or she was this; esoteric, patently; not merely—even—somatic/culinary.

        “You have seen the Maze of the Seven Glands.”

The First

        “You will die in a very strange manner, which, as I’m sure you’re aware, only ports, you, to an infinity of a very particular character.” He was replaced by another. “But for you: the sensation of what it means to be, to be whelmed, consumed by him. That is two.” One of them showed his fingers. I blinked and another had his hand up. How many?

        I couldn’t remember leaving, or if I’d agreed. It was the word—I wanted to be whelmed. I couldn’t go home. This was obvious. I was in pain. And the cough there. Alone with it. And the others. And repeating endlessly. And the others had been memory. I knew the difference between memory and the real one.

        The thought of it absolutely… at home—I couldn’t confront it. I have also/also/also burned out, through, every, other, possible—every, I have, other, possible, I thought, escape. Not that I could remember what they might be. I’d been drawn to—dragged—The Greasy Palimpsest. And they’d given me this. I knew it’d happen. I went for it.

        I’d forgotten what it—a reason—the cough.

        I went to forget.

        I want to forget.

        I recall it as the first. I want—but they’re the only memories not rewritten in the remembering.

        My throat was running the agony of the divine will forced into flesh, forced into nerves, forced into existence against its own subordinate volition, up the back of my neck, but I knew where the Beard-Eater lived—they’d told me. Perhaps meeting him, accepting him, would (he was—most; the most: they’d said it) be it; the thing—enough to whelm? Enough to whelm a cough?

        To whelm it?

        And what was a Beard-Eater—if not the only possible escape from the cough?

        Dragging myself through the corridor hurried perceptions forced on reality, reinterpreted, interpreted, redefined, reapplied, made me see, beneath ill-light spitting lampposts, I wobbled the ditch-plank over the pit that had drank thousands of them:

        The gypsum grins, of pap mash paters, no longer worshipped in the old fashion, bobbed up and under brown water.

        What I saw, I prayed, were only flashes of a backdrop, filling in, that he had; his—the Beard-Eater. But it wasn’t.

        Let me get in him, I thought, instead—as I approached the works, the nearer I got, the less I was in it: the wave of distraction and the fight to retain what passed, the fight that defined me. I had two thoughts—no, it was one—and a prayer. I reached out trembling to be whelmed: the plumbing on the outside.

        Directly, the space behind my—


Between the Fourth Gland, the Sixth;

        as horribly dense as the gradations of darkness, as the thing that plays before dismissing them as that, I have to move toward it because that there’s only that—it’s nothing, its nothing; that wanting nothing that makes doors; stairs; walls; corridors; enfilades; angles; definitively seen there but discarded, I can’t live. The pool down. Its ringing. The wagon: of fevers. It’s an idea before you—see—that other place or what it pushes through… I do not know what it pushes through; I cannot live against it; I do not know. I push through: nothing and a metaphysical way station; a dream—memory? I’m just seeing them again, the windows, and not just the windows; of the windows, flat, with their own angles, but only ever upon that place; only ever to that place; from that place. From it. Here: past, present and dream all at—an idea? But I see it.

        See… form behind it.

        And behind it nothing.


        Want that runs being inside-out.

The Fourth Gland

        “Everything. I need—a man in my floor! Please, please, a man in my floor. Everything! It’s all blocked up!” Red gouge-flaps beat a click-clack on his cheek-packets. “You!, do you—” Me now. “You—have a man with the skills?”

        For feet, indeed. I do feet for a price all but the worst can afford. The compositions of manifestos, similarly. I have drafted agitprop for cliques of intimates seized in one hand by committee pretensions, by drink, and in the other by wretched complots. I’ve done all for the colourful pennies… yellow pennies and…

        A hasty froth licked his chops up, “Please, I need a man with the—I have reached the point at which, oooghh, skills, living in this fashion,” grey-yellow, it underwent mitosis, visibly, mitosis, millions of spheres—black beads at the centres—replicated frenziedly at the corners of his eyes, his mouth, the surface of the white tongue that beat its own heterodox punctuations, “longer, longer, oooghh, Bissie; it’s under, blocked, oooghh, under will ruin me.” The crackling flashes of amusement, at the complex hybrid by the counter, cohered, somewhat, into laughter even this one could interpret: “Even the worse, say it, even the worse for it, oooghh—pray to rot it—oooghh, so much for the worse this, Bis.” He jigged and spit.

        “Holy Infant,” I said, shining resounding non-hate, out of every one of my open face-puss-holes, “Dollie, I can see it, it’s dreadful, pray to it.” And it was, and it worked, for he was delighted I had treated it, him, as a fellow entity. The work of the Committee often requires the concealment (and concealment) of disdain from the riffraff.

        “Please, you are so kind, good and—I can see and—its hands are gibbets—I’m never wrong in my judgements of others,” he took my mirth for sympathy, “I am loathed for it in a fashion, and of a nature, marks and matter, marks and matter, by every creature, in every fashion that is not normal,” and here was the matter, now, and, wasn’t it: “they can sense what I have in my home. The facilities no longer function and it’s—they loathe me, for a fashion—not even partially material.”

        Not completely sub-literal, as I’d thought, and this was better—it could be used. I had need of a fertile lackey: he’d make fruit for me. I’d fruit it. From his body, I sought marvels, I’d procure a farm for fruity dainties. Not secretarial material, by any means—this makeshift could not manipulate the souls of men like cloth dollies, but really, spinning, he could be used to frighten. Staring in windows gets you very far, in truth—I could make this an exemplar, this cloth dolly, of some idea, some horrible new idea, abroad; spread him about a bit in the bucking streets, “I long,” singing, “To drag through the streets, like the clinically dead in their sheets, singing, ‘Clinical Death!’

        “‘Clinical Death!’

        “‘Clinical Death!’”

        “Pyacht, shut it!”

        But yes, spread him about a bit in the bucking streets: gushing and running and spitting and slipping and slapping, and dropping his fruit, fruit, fruit, running and screaming, and burning, and dripping, and slipping, and dropping his fruit, fruit, fruit, his spoiled fruit, his gorged fruit, his all-up fruit, his splosh, his dinner sippy; his dangling fruits; his smelly gushy and his fresh bits, mmm.

        “Something massive, its swirling hardness, whirlie-whirlie!, whirlie-whirlie!, its swirly madness, up above us now—it orders their thoughts toward their—they hate it… And I can only—oooghh, I can, I agree with it, oooghh, oooghh.” It’s always their own pitiful scenarios, him too, sobbing messily over both our jerkins, our underskins for the heat, our re-heated toy-plastic, rubber under udders and trousers, and rubbers, and thermals; trouser-thermals; portions—our flat jotters; our bog-clappers; our tape—both of which: visible out each.

        Neither one of us had been spared the general poverty. This shared attribute, indeed, alleviated my generic hatred; which weakening I allowed the features to suggest. The human, as opposed to the other, reactions should enrich the performance. He deserved it, as well. He was lucky. I felt my rictus attenuate. After all… he was no puppy.

        “You are not a dog, good man, you are not a dog!”

        “Thank you! Thank you!” The laughter by the till had reached the stage the spittoons had been positioned. Here we were, then, again, for Hally whips; for tong baths, isn’t he?; pert callops and ballast; for, sadly, sadly, slips for grippy ignominy. The spittoons had been positioned for all to see. Nothing, as always, it was nothing, however—dignity required feigning the ignorance of it. I knew what was happening.

        It’s—with the clearest detachment, the cleanest self-defacement, with the knowledge of the person, to the anatomical level, procured by the Professor’s hoary thighs, the consequent professional objectivity derived by his upper lower limbs, I have considered myself the greatest, often, of the era—the greatest Thespian.

        “Please, I am begging you; you are a man—rather: you have the skills. It’s all blocked up in the floors! An impacted—everything, and not just my buckets and pans, my pan. It’s all blocked up with—everything!—decades: nothing rots it!” The violent weeping of the dirty hysteric had started up again: I resisted slapping his tooth out—“Nothing moves any longer at all! It’s evidence of the nasty turn my thoughts have taken, oh good grief, yes, yes, it’s up there, it rounds, it rounds, it quicks, but later, later, and,” quieter, “I’m sick of everyone knowing.”


        “It’s Chancey!”

        He entered the vacancy made for him.

        “It ups, it ups; it quicks, it quicks. It rounds, it rounds; it downs, it downs.”

        It was physical intercourse with nullity, that he performed, with the nil, with non-existence; with not being. He made the lubricious movements of love, with his body, with absence; with… it made being wrong; a tripping step dance; you didn’t want—it was art—to be. No, you couldn’t say his arms were static. It was them that ushered you inside his, the, dream.

        “It ups, it ups; it quicks, it quicks. It rounds, it rounds; it downs, it downs.”


        His moral fright, his psychic agony (I said, “You’re expressing yourself admirably, and I’d be happy to help.”), his mortal despair, of course, were, in toto, if not frightening in the least, at least amusing, and hilarious, and at least warming, his bucket, and it was true that while I was warmed—the thought of his fruit and anguish—with him I hadn’t once thought of what waited for me: in my own home, in my own flat; through what loomed at the end of the bed, through it, and into that sideways corner, that corridor, that corner, that corridor, that corner, that corridor—and who’s in it, what’s spinning in it: that corner, that corridor, in. And what’s spinning in it. In it.


        In its hands.


        In its hands.

        Spinning with the cloth dollies ringing, and how does he hold them, and how does he spin.

        Spinning with the cloth dollies ringing, spinning them, all around him…

        His face—a face, diagonal—rears from the abyss, clothed in infernal stillness.

        It’s—you only see his body when it’s spinning.

        Cloth dollies.


      The canine’s inexhaustible sagacity—its face when it’s speaking and its body when it’s spinning. When it’s dancing!

        Oh and its speaking.

        I hoped the clothie could not see my tears, or failing that, construe them.

        His speaking; his—but not currently. The Great Work goes on; its works, its functions, they function. The Great Work must proceed. The work of the Committee.

        “Yes, my person, worry—socket your nerves back in their sphincters—it’s ceased, your agony, finally.” I smiled harmlessly, extending the gap between the lips, “Come now, my diminutive little sack of burlap, it’s finished: kiss me, clothie. I have the power. The worldly skills.” I shook. “I have it.”

        What was, I had to consider, my own anguish regarding a twisted, infinite face that hates me; as well as the irredeemable, absolute, metaphysical estrangement from one’s own culture, had been interpreted as empathy and he was almost won: “A shield for the face you’ve donned that your powers go unobserved, you’re correct, for the powers; the upper powers.” He flinched—it was this. “What powers, upper powers,” I winked, “have taken ahold of your bodies?” I’d fruit this. I’d fruit it—I’d never said the work of the Committee is secular, entirely. I’d fruit it. We want souls. “I will get everything moving. Everything’s bunged up in the bottom of your flat, the flat, the toilet I said I believe, clothie, because of your/the/above, cited, inability to face reality.” I lifted his chin to try and kiss it, for a blessing, but he fought. “I have them. I have the skills. Once more… I’ll get everything moving.”

        Their spitting had grown extraordinarily anxiety-inducing by the till. Thousands had died by such communicable laughter. It said it on their certificates. Much more and I’d hear the fever wagon—it has a bell too. Famously it’s—more than famous it’s our blood’s rhyme—hanging out the windows ringing their altar chimes, their hand bells, their sacring rattles—it has a bell too; a bell too: the hosannah of our extinction. Our veins ring it, our bowels sing it! Much more and they’d have to bring the fever wagon in. With its red roof, and its yellow wheels, and its ringing, and its singing, and its grinding din. And its welcome in. And its back windows. And its spitting out the windows.


        The fever wagon rings, the fever wagon sings, and the fellas are all spitting out the windows; the windows ring; the windows sing, the fellas are all spitting.

        You do a dance, the Giddy Prance, hanging out the windows.

        The red roof is for everyone! Come inside and have some fun.

        It’s ringing, it’s ringing, and the fever boys, they’re spitting out the windows.


        They were spitting, and hacking, and vomiting, because of the laughter. Someone had brought it and—this madman; this pathological; this schiz—the spittoons were full to the brim; brimming. But I had given up long since cataloguing these categories of mirth. That way led—not to a healthy mental outlook, as well, that way. Madness, in.

        Propellants flew as the mirth reached the revelation. And as expert as they were, it didn’t all land in the buckets. Hardly.

        The desperate eyes of the limbless loosie shone, and I had to consider that no one has yet been locked up for lying—not to the finished. It brings up the general level.

        “The cult that promotes the worship of hounds is among the most politically adroit, but I knew they were soulless. Perhaps I could use the skills of my tongue, finally. I was not without my own methods and skills. Their seat is my tongue.

        “I also do feet.

        “I thought.

        “For a greater purpose—I do feet for a greater purpose—and also just for the juice of the thing: I had always enjoyed frightening, and feet, for the juice of it. But frightening. The gerund, hmm, the gerund. Click, click, click, clack, clack, clack, spitting out the windows—there was nothing wrong in it. Nothing wrong in it—nothing. Nothing in it at all. To frighten this fecund little clothie, this cloth dolly, this cloth dolly! Into doing what I wanted. Nothing.

        “I gestured him to proceed, and to the assonant chorus of mirth we left. Not spying the fever wagon, not yet—I indicated him to precede me.

        “I heard its bell—but it was a thought… memory.

        “But it was far off, I thought:

        “There’s a country between here… and that…

“The Fifth Gland,”

        I said, “I see the tremulous glimmer through your filthy faces for the Fifth—but you don’t know where you even are. Who.

        “Where you’re going.”

        I was yet—I must have been for through me ran its stream of—the Fifth Gland is the Visionary; the Fifth Gland is I; the Fifth; the Fifth—if I repeated perhaps momentarily I’d retain:

        Mouthing it.

        Mixing the words up.

        The rhymes.

        All they do is swap. All they can do is,


        All they do is repeat; all they do is—return; before it fills, only, in the moments, between, that solicit perception.

        I felt the angle dwindle—am I him?—behind—now? The one that plays in the moments before—my eyes dragged back and I kicked, and the thing entered. I was watching it outside, from the outside: clapping their dirty hands. Motes flew off them. They danced around. A long shadow up her face—I saw what the Madame was holding: transformed with a lust, for beards, but first, on my—but I couldn’t look long at that.

        I wore the beard I ate off my own face, in a toilet, under the sink.

        I lifted his chin.

        I hung from a hook.

        In the hole.

        One enfilade, a particular—humour, stretched between far-off islands, windows, in which I glimpsed fitting shadows, row and swim, in that light, cast dimly, from out café candles inside the Maze of the Seven; through—their bodies/a window toward the centre: something in it. I was—another where they faced the other—through—



        Indicative of the wasting away of any common structure of reference—all part of the hound’s long campaign, of course—the, almost picturesquely, disgusting, deliberately, unmaintained, peri-urban landscape, betraying an operating intelligence, I filled with the scenes of what I’d have him do for me: send him about to frighten; into the pokey upstairs crevices of my enemies, their offices, with a rusty kitchen grater. There are people going around trying to frighten people. I’d teach this boy to throttle.

        My ringing bell, this cloth dolly, he’d be, his actions, an idea, more, in the mind of the peasantry—only the strangest perverts use this archaism, I knew, but it has a pleasant chime—I could ruin what was left of the community with this face painted on a sheet. No, a plan was forming, certainly, of which I had the jolly duty to induct him in his flat:

        It stank worse than my own—which olfactory warning, ringing and running around it, skipping together and laughing like tykes in that circle, through it, I was rather impressed by.

        He’d taken all the doors off, turning the place into a circle so that his pacing, his aping, his mimicry… his mad reels of the night forests… his whirlie-swirlie of the caves of time; his—please, his—his… stinking jigs of the pits…

        Could be endless.

        “In here,” he said—he’d made a circle—trembling me in; shaking almost to the point of unconsciousness; shaking to death.

        He brought me into his toilet, for:

        That luscious, that conscious night of bliss; that secret warning and sound; that warming; that love for me through what waited at the end.

        Passed stepped-flat bags of human excrement, he brought me into the room where it all occurred between ochre—wallpaper—spattered paper. Dog knew what he knew either, already, my cloth dolly with dangling dugs, my—scary face quivering on a paper leaf—clothie; it would be facile, really.


        “You’ve made a hole.”

        “How did you—oooghh?!”

        He went to remove his jerkin, his toy-plastic under-thermal crotch-pock and knicker-bag extender for the hair vest; his theatre sponge-tongue and deluxe heat-sack for the cord-johns avec parlour baby sweat-meet for the flank rags: he sweat like a beast; I explained I meant its correspondent; not in the flesh but in the home.

        Indeed in the man’s toilet. The room of the toilet. Hmmm.

        Before the space that reached toward the worship of a toilet:

        There was a place we turned around in, several times, inside, holding hands, skipping and shrieking and staring in each other’s, the other’s, terrible eyes, our crooked sneers, our ripped apart lids, our dangling—shrieking and screaming hurdy-garpies; curdy-carpies—either for this, or it was part of our waltz.

        From mine, his hands fell.

        The room for the toilet was rather large for someone such as—in his youth he’d been physically viable and chased someone better off. Despite his showy—a musical variety act—brain fever, the rest hadn’t yet found out matters had reversed.

        With the most elegant movement, intercepted, only interpreted, passed through his body, with a ceremony only received and in turn transmitted, he pulled the curtain, the tarpaulin curtain, to reveal what was beneath it.

        That day all ducts relearned the skill of weeping.

        For he had made a hole.

        Against self-interest—for who shouldn’t assign the mawking of their better funeral players for this, for him, I thought—but now he had me. For this wafted cloth, fortune’s wheels had clattered upon strange, upon wondrous new visions.

        The unveiling of the first human structure, the hole, after the flat circle we’d flown around in—not a space that could be retained, fully, for the later transposition into memory—made the whole thing three-dimensional, more.

        For an instant, it was an instant—it could be apprehended: this species of intuition; the scope of his complicated rituals, their capaciousness; that to which they were aimed: the enormous reduction of the real to sublime movements—a sense, merely, nothing that could be kept. It left its mark, however. Most of his gowns were still appended to the angles, spattered, if anything, on hooks, with more wet ochre than his paper hangings.

        His paper worried.

        “Isn’t it—it is—it’s in there, is it?” I said to him: tapping the sap; tending to the vine that its fruit might be juicy for its cultivator, worthy of him, worthy for what he was:

        We take our pleasures where we can, they are rare, they do not last, they are, “Everything is in there,” he started his weeping again, but softly, languidly, a trickle down a rock face, spurting sideways, and back, all the way down. I admit, it was lovely to see the shine on his face as his ducts pissed it.

        “Listen to me, young man, younger man,” he was not younger, he was not young, “Listen to me, young man, younger man: you are a younger man, so very young and innocent. You are a younger man, yes: you are a young stranger. You are a young stranger. You are a young; you are a young and younger stranger; a young stranger; a younger man, a young man, a younger man, a young stranger; a younger stranger, a young man, a younger man; a young stranger.

        “A young stranger, you are. A young man, a younger man, a young stranger, you are, a young stranger: a young man, a young stranger, a younger man, a young stranger… a young stranger…”

        The Great Work goes on. The work of the Committee. The Committee for the Insistence that Dogs Have No Souls. For CIDHNS, the Great Work must—for CIDHNS, the Committee, has need of officers, offices, officials, worldly offices; powers; subscribers; secretaries.

        For CIDHNS.

        For CIDHNS.

        I only needed more of this.

        My haemorrhoids were loosened by the muscles that held them in check.

        I had undergone this transformation, similarly, at the height of physiological pleasure—after perhaps I had seen a stranger leaf, at first a leaflet, without immediately tossing it or his contents. On the other hand I had seen them use the leaflets for wiping and it baffled me and it befouled nature.

        This loosening of the ‘rrhoids was rare, and deeply personal—its width—and therefore, with little more than my gaze and my stomping, I commanded silence.

        Expertly identifying the muscles below—always clothed, by fear, by propriety, never fear, by my rag bag, hair bag, rubber blubber under udders and hinge-bag and hing-gag apropos of the rubber blubber under udders for the trousers, for the heat, as the trousers, and the heat, the socketed beneath rubber-plumbing and crotch-pock for the garters, the nick-nack and click-clack, the sing a rhyme-song, the vestments, for the fever ladies racing, beneath my, for my, along, and my, trousers—I loosened what hung out to the point at which it became atrocious/dangerous—but wasn’t this always the point, the goal, and even beyond it.

        Until abruptly, and I don’t mind saying it, I had to cease. They called him a quack, but the methods I had spent a twelvemonth’s foot pennies memorising, black pennies, at that epoch, and yellow pennies, and—quack, quack—red, never suscitated buyer’s remorse, only the gush of self-righteousness, the most auspicious results, verily, one had to counter; full incarnation in the flesh; a sanctified pleasure before reality; a permanent rictus; the waning of infernal grief; ecstasy on the physiological level; the joy of love finally but I must say, I must confess, I have a written statement, the tenderest feelings.

        I had assimilated all the Professor’s lectures. Everything was loosened, and then brought back into place, merely at the behest of a temperament now civilised by instruction. But after I had attained it, I opened my eyes and looked into a face, his face—his face, the face of faith.

        I had found him.

        And now the work.


        I could see nothing in the pit except layers of ambiguous non-materiality, that in which he lived. There was no light either. Below: layers so suggestive I had to fight not to imagine what was inside them. Through them. The other end.

        Something ruffled the sleeve of a robe on a hook.

        As he did what was unfortunately not just physically necessary—lowering me in—I knew I could not look back up at him. His tears, from that beautiful angle, would only preface the further loosening of what I sat on; and this was not the place—according to the Professor not a safe, not an approved position—for that.


        What had—matter constituted his toilet block—in some vaguely alluded to, little understood fashion, stopped everything and his toilet, rotting it had always been the only possible salvation. Therefore, I think lamentably—he’d whipped his shoulders to strings!, for the rotting—you could all too easily comprehend it; this clothie; daily, hourly, every minute, he prayed for—not ever, there’d never be, not any rotting; nor when the world withered, the last organ left.

        In a manner of speaking, if not in a certain sense, it was the rotting itself he worshipped; the idea itself: decomposition; the putrefaction of flesh, of all biological matter, of the body. He prayed to the process by the means of which the organic festers: its physical structure and all it represents disintegrated; all capacities, talents, consciousness, all of them; all incarnation’s gifts reduced to—effecting disgust.

        His god was decomposition; was rot; was everything, to nothing, via disgust; rot that gave birth, breech-birthed, ripping itself effecting it; not from nothing making it; toward nothing making it/effecting it: disgust.

        It was this, the thing to which he offered his adoration, and… he was right.

        It did resemble an attribute of the divine: creation from becoming—my feet hit—nothing. But I was no longer falling. An incomprehensible angle concealed what little light should have entered from above. I could not immediately cry for help, however, before I had displayed a mystic sway over reality, a command of the sinful inner workings of toilets.

        No, the Great Work, as we must categorise all the work of the Committee, of her—I reassured myself—had taken me to worse places than inside the workings of this madman’s privy.

        Morbid fascination at what my victim had constructed brought me in, too, I have to say, but by my troth.

        I saw nothing in that darkness.

        There was nothing to kick against to make my sounds; nothing inside which I could rummage, splash.

        Some instinct forbid feigning, with the voice, arcane operations.

        More, there was nothing there, no mass that had any need of manipulation—there was nothing stopping the passage of matter, for any matter, if it was that.

        Reality disappeared in a blankness, separate from the darkness. Time did not come back. No. Replaced—I felt it all fill in, that thing, that all.

        I could—I see—that face: that terror moving through it… his face in stillness.

        His body.

        His hands.

        Spinning with the cloth dollies ringing, and how does he hold them, and how does he spin.

        Spinning with the cloth dollies ringing, spinning them, all around him…

The Sixth

        A witness.

        A sensitive; worse it needs one who feels.

        It’s not The Greasy Palimpsest, up ahead; it’s another angle; there are two angles in it, but the latter—it shows a building with the plumbing on the outside. On the outside it—it’s on the outside,

        Was I out?

        moving forward despite it’s only ever a further entering in.

        There’s more than one angle on The Greasy Palimpsest, the way to it. The way to the rose coloured, with the—a vision of a world outside this: the same place; but still/but not—other angles on The Greasy Palimpsest. Palimpsest. Here.

        It wants the same; it’s repetition. Not infinity—it’s infinity; it’s seven.

        It rhymes.

        The dripping taps are slamming doors.

        They’re laughing.


        I pass the ceiling, with the mad laugh; the two-walled, two-floored, two-ceilinged structure. Diagonal. I see that—what’s not that blankness I’m already in: another angle on the visionary, only, The Greasy, manifesting visions; taking the slack on the contours of another… gland.

        My own.

        I pass the one where—in which—his brain bursts.

        One thing:

        It contained a seal, material, no longer there; the thing was holding all his blood in.

        Between the floor, and all the blood in the visionary’s head, there is now nothing.

        I stand watching it all fall out.

        I stand watching them laugh.

        He’s crumpled, but from his face everything’s falling out: the rest of the blood in his body.

        All the blood’s already been, that was his head’s blood, emptied: his heart—“His happy heart,” “His happy heart,” they’re skipping—his happy heart’s forcing it all out his face—fast as it can.

        I hear the fever wagon. Its bell. Its ringing. It’s in the halls. All the blood is running. His mouth does fish-gasps under the scarlet skin his nostrils spin.

        Involuntary actions are the most, of course—his audience can’t contain it—not out of the window they’re already in. I’m in the maze, and they can’t see. Not me.

        The whole thing is ringing.

        The fellas are all spitting out the windows.

        The spittoons are already there, necessarily, in that—they’re vomiting: din din mucky bloodworms.

        The building wants I see it. Exists—so I wander.

        I make myself.

        Despite—I’m flooded with, something like, joy at the sight of him, again, after—fitting. Another face. Another vision. Another window; through a further—who made this—corridor, forced to impose between it and—it’s only fitting.

        It makes me suffer it.

        Its suffering.

        They’re gifts.


        He’s shaking.

        I cannot see another transformation. I cannot watch the mad lust hit in him.

        He’s clawing at the ceiling, it’s perhaps only—my face.

        Pyacht’s, or the other.

        I stop.

        The Greasy Palimpsest. The Greasy Palimpsest. The café, At the end is—it’s not that little kingdom.

        I see a building with the plumbing on the outside.


        He turns and it’s my face.

        But who is he?

        This time?




        I could no longer enjoy, looking outside, the outside, The Greasy Palimpsest, the Palimpsest, the window, the Onomastico.

        “Madame, please. Madame—do not stop laughing.”

        I wept?

        A face in the window: a circle inside a circle inside a square. His mouth—I’d heard it in dream, I’d repeated in dream, the verse; whispered, remembered?, repeated, in dream:

        repeated in dream, the verse; whispered, remembered, repeated, in dream.

        I did not understand it.

        He said it.

        I did too.

        I watched his mouth.

        He said it.

        I did too.

        I watched his mouth.

        He said it.

        I did too.

        I watched his mouth.

        He said it.

        I did too.

        He watched my mouth.

        He watched my mouth.

        I watched his mouth.









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        the mouth opened the mouth opened 888888888888888888

the mouth opened the mouth