Judy sat at the top of the attic steps beside a battered old actor’s trunk, out of which spilled many colorful hats. Punch was pulling them out hand over fist, tossing them behind him with hardly a glance. A floppy, celestial blue bridesmaid’s hat caught his attention. He held it aloft as sparkly motes of dust settled along its wide brim. “Try this one on, Judy,” he said abruptly. “Maybe someone will want to kiss you then.” He slammed the hat down so hard on Judy’s head that the brim ripped right off. Judy rubbed her neck and picked the bits of hat remains out of her hair. “That’s not the way you do it, Punch,” she said in a peevishly shrill tone of voice. Punch rummaged again in the trunk and this time came up with a white top hat with two purple stripes running down the sides. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he cried, as he balanced the ringmaster’s hat on top of his own jester’s crown, “we now present the amazing case of the Silent Woman!” He drew back his slap stick and swiped it through the air with all his might, aiming right below Judy’s jaw. But clever Judy had put on a necklace of Spanish doubloons, which broke the stick in two. “That’s not the way you do it, Punch,” she screeched, although her voice held an undertone of derision. Punch tossed away the broken stub of the slap stick and dove to the bottom of the deep dark trunk. He popped up again holding his hands behind his back. “Have I got a lovely surprise for you, Judy!” he cried. “Now, close your eyes!” “I most certainly will not close my eyes, Punch. What’s that you’ve got hidden behind you?” Judy barked suspiciously. Punch turned his back to Judy, hunching over his prize, then he slowly twirled around to face her again, hugging to his chest a green fedora. “Oh, now that is lovely, Punch!” Judy cried, holding her hands out for the hat. “I will look marvellous in it, I will!” she shrieked. “Just hold on, now, Judy,” Punch chided her. He peeked down his chest, into the inside of the green fedora, where a seven-legged spider sat. “You have to adjust these hats just so,” he continued. “Hold still now, my dear Judy.” Punch tossed the fedora from his chest right onto Judy’s rumple-haired head, but before Judy could lift a hand to adjust the hat, out raced the spider to spin its web round and round her head. As it swung itself about in a frenzy of spinning, the spider seemed to hum, and as it hummed and spun, Judy became quieter and whiter and when the spider was done, there sat Judy the mummy beneath Charlie's green fedora. Punch clapped and danced around the Judy mummy and shouted out in his finest swazzle twang: “That’s the way to do it!”
I've been gutted. Heart, soul, guts ripped out, forgotten in the gutter.
Worse yet, I've forgotten what they feel like. Heart, soul, guts.
An absence of pain As though the wound had been healed Forgotten no more.
A vortex is what it ends up feeling like, although in the beginning it is barely a crack, a leak, a trickle. It seems to take a very long time to begin, but once you’ve noticed it, the trickle has become rapids cascading down the mountainside of your life. It has nothing to do with names or keys. Surprisingly enough, computers offer the oddly comforting simile of the folder you open only to find it empty. Not a single file in it. Worse yet, you can’t for the life of you remember why the folder is named “Do-dads”. The blank you draw leads you down the uncomfortable path of half-remembered sensations that you think you might recall if only you could remember where you felt them, or when. You want to ask your dead husband, “What was it you whispered in my ear just as the city bus roared past?”, which he ran to catch and so you never got the chance to say “What?” That whispering, that restaurant, that day at that beach, they’re all at that place where memories are vacuumed up as if into a black hole to be left festering beside all the other memories that you don’t even know you’ve forgotten.
Rain held forth in the jungle Under the banana leaves, Below the persistent ferns. Bedlam seemed a more perfect answer to the Endless dripping against the Rubber plants.
Broken fronds lay in ruins Across the path laid out By the baby elephant that ran Yelping after its mother.
Bogus mining carts wheeled along Ugly logging roads in the soft Golden light of morning like old-fashioned buggies Guided by black-hooded nannies along Oz’s Yellow-brick road.
Bands of furtive eco-poachers, Using refurbished artisan-quality Machine guns as they elbowed and Pushed rhythmically against Each other like boats against bumpers, Raided the lone shelter under the quiet Softly falling cover of the rain.