Monday, September 19, 2005


Voice-print of the distant antic. Cat-prowl and shirrings out. Cirrus lashings. Th’under husky. Canny lackadaisical capable of unleashing fury. A fine laughter. That word Nabokov claim’d hid in slaughter. Just a rasp-sassy hint of Mariel Hemingway: “I never say anything f-filthy.”

A tizzy of turnings here, bridled. Shoe-leather burning and wind-tunnel.

“What are men anyway but balloons on legs, a lot of blown-up bladders? Flies, that’s what we are. No, not even flies. Flies have something inside. But a man’s a bubble, all air, nothing else.”

Petronius, trans. William Arrowsmith, The Satyricon, (Meridian, [1959], 1994)


Charting the categories and assignments of the droll astrologer (Petronius):

Aries (The Ram): “owns heaps of sheep and lots of wool” “head is hard, forehead like brass, horns like swords” “many professors and also muttonheads”

Taurus (The Bull): “bullies and cowboys and people who lie down in soft pastures”

Gemini (The Twins): “two-horse teams, yokes of oxen, lechers who are led around by their balls, and two-faced politicians”

Cancer (The Crab): “walks on many legs” “possessions stretch over land and sea” “at home in both elements”

Leo (The Lion): “gluttons and big shots”

Virgo (The Virgin): “useless women, deserters, and those who wear chains on their ankles, fetters for men, bracelets for women”

Scorpio (The Stinger): “poisoners and murderers”

Sagittarius (The Archer): “cross-eyed thieves who cock an eye at the beets but snitch the ham”

Capricorn (The Goat-Horn): “because it means goat-horn, come men who have horns or corns; corn-men are workers who sweat for their wages and horn-men are cuckolds all.

Aquarius (The Water-Carrier): “innkeepers who water the wine and people who are all wet.”

Pisces (The Fish): “the fishier types of men: gape-mouthed lawyers or just plain fish peddlers.”


“That’s why things are as they are.”