Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Flesh Stocking

From HERE.

Mah Jong Breath
“…pressing objects into other items, some wider than their receptacles, the nested results then compressed into geometrical shapes, pyramids, dodecahedra and cones…”
And the Great Wall of China.  I have a real-time admission to make.  In my earlier review of ‘Pyramid & Thisbe’,  I wrote “I need a firewall between me and such a conception of an author with just a chink to peer through to savour his prose images surreptitiously as well as safely.” Before publishing that sentence finally on the blog page, I had originally drafted ‘Chinese Wall’ but I then changed it to ‘firewall’ because I noticed that the later reference to ‘chink’ might be considered dubious in some way, however unintentional that might have been. What this fact signifies, I’m not sure, but, meanwhile, the ‘Mah Jong Breath’, as an utter masterpiece of literature (no exaggeration), may not even have been written  if I had not made that last minute change. The universe is a strange place, but the universe of magic fiction (as opposed to magic realism) is even stranger. A similar retrocausal conundrum is conjured here from the brilliantly described ambiance of Cardiff’s Chinatown and its whorehouses, and this conundrum is on a sort of sliding scale of the whore’s age in real-time during sex — leading to the most incredibly stunning prose of reprehensible salaciousness. Seriously, it is something one will never forget reading, so I can indeed be sure that I’ve never read it before. The conundrum, you ask? It is embodied in this quote from the story: “How could a sexual act be risky and harmless simultaneously?” This intensely atmospheric story is not only a wonderful exploratory answer to that conundrum, but also adds to an assuagement of other real-time elements of one’s own sporadic infiltration by archetypal “guilty dream“, a dream that tends to squat inside while also forging self-hate or self-deception or paranoia in the same pervasive way that a sense of “death squats on one’s shadow…”  (19 Sep 12 – 2.40 pm bst)
The Flesh Stocking
“The accelerated gurgling through the hose tucked in my armpit always made me giggle; I imagine this is how an elephant’s trunk must feel like if you hold it while the beast is sucking up water from a pond.”
If I had read this story in an old issue of ‘Nemonymous’ that I hadn’t edited I would never have guessed it was written by Rhys Hughes, unless I had spotted the single fiction conceit as embodied in the above quote. It is an intriguing mood piece involving dialogue between firefighters in UK during the 2nd World War … With vivid description of a pencil factory fire contiguous with a freak barrage balloon, plus ‘friendly fire’ from bombers killing their own locals, but, above all, an endemic homophobia contiguous with hydrophobia emblemised by flailing hoses carrying water’s conduit-force… The more I think about this piece, the more thought-provocation emerges. Including something I remember my mother doing in the 1950s: i.e. drawing pencil lines up the back of her own bare legs. To create the illusion of stockings she could not otherwise afford? Or, subconsciously, to create, as she danced, an impression of firemen’s sinuously whipping hoses … or the stray tethers left hanging from rogue barrage balloons? (19  Sep 12 – 4.05 pm bst)

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