Another piece 'Lexophony' (written by me in the sixties) should be read in advance of the piece below.
SIX O'LANTERN POLICEMEN
Published 'Purple Patch' 1995
'Tell a mixture of
Truth and lie...
...Untill no one
Not even you
Can tell one from the other."
[Lines 2305/6, 2309/10, The Egnisomicon.]
Six o'lantern policemen in church-dome hats clapped me into the pisky nick down by the goblin shore and gave me luncheon from a truncheon. I can't understand why I'm here but since I'm here for as long as I can foresee, I ought to be able to shape out the events leading up to my imprisonment in as chronological and meaningful a manner as I can muster. So, once upon a time, there was a dipstick, who for current purposes you can call me, a long streak of nothing, a pair of trouser-braces in the tin bath. I got going somehow, did most of the right things in most of the right eyes, passed a few notches through those trouser-braces ... and ended up discovering The Egnisomicon. The Egnisomicon, you won't have heard of, but you've guessed it, it is a book, a book of sorts, and, like most books, has words in it.
I got married, naturally, had a family, one boy, one girl, and we lived happily ever after. That's one side of the story which I would prefer to end there. But promises are promises. It was my son who thought I was old before my time - surely he saw that I was giving it all I could, in overdrive to earn an honest crust and support a rickety roof of rattle-slates. My God, my two women, since my daughter surely got to be one, they faced me out about it, said I had to keep hold of the 3 cherries or the 3 oranges or whatever, for they dreamed of a one time jackpot when they could nudge me out. Their heads waltzed in my dreams like bouncing balloons. I woke with sweat soaking the sheets. I also dreamed of the Earth itself being a monster, full of curdling cream, and bouncing like a head through someone else's dream, a backdrop to someone else's personal mythos. I dug the garden too much that next summer. I still don't know why and for what. Perhaps I wanted to see how far down it was before the cream started spirting out.
"Get that dirty thing out of the kitchen!" So I took it to the loo instead. I scraped out the tin bath me old mum and dad sat in the 50's. This is where it gets harder to be meaningful, since chronology has been thrown out with the baby. I could say that we had stockpiled loads of tins of Irish stew, marrowfat peas, Italian tomatoes, haricot beans, ring spaghetti &c and I emptied their contents over the ghosts of me old mum and dad who, for all I knew, still sat in the tin bath, scrubbing the day away. I could say that I got in, myself, and started wallowing about. But that does not explain The Egnisomicon, does it? Was that a tin bath into which had been thrown all the literary preservatives and colourings that could be turned out of the pantry of words? Or was it a more important item than that, telling you of moments in the past and future that are about to meet in time present?
Significance is only self-evident after it has ceased to be significant. That's why I'm here today staring from a grinny window, mouthing silently, over and over again, the same words. And the two women and the young man who used to be my family, what about them? They think they have forgotten me, as I have indeed nearly forgotten them. Little fear, I am about to write The Egnisomicon all over again, so that it can exist for the first time. And what indeed are those words I silently mouth time after time?
“You live a day a day to put life in
Suck suck sucking on your own bleeding virtue
You live a day a day to put Christ in
Beg beg begging that death cannot hurt you."
And, down by the goblin shore, the six policemen in church-dome hats fail to wonder what it all means - but neither do they seem to notice that I eat nothing and spend all my time in the pisky nick's bath, the trouser-braces tightening notch by notch...
"What is factual is not actual."
[Line 1190, The Egnisomicon]