Friday, February 8, 2008


'H' (indicated by another 'H' halved) . The apostrophe is a Roman creation originally employed to side-step the impossible 'H' their mouths refused (and still refuse) to make.
An apostrophe before a word began as the left half of a bisected 'H', an apostrophe after was the right half of a bisected 'H' -- half a breath was all the compromise the author asked; half an 'H', not quite the full pauses home, heads, whores, help, hustlers, hands, the Holy Ghost, Heaven, Hell, caipirinhas and the word 'huh' command, just a fraction to avoid the impossible frictive.

However, like the ypsilon and kappa Ceasar also failed to rub out, the 'H' kept going, plowing ahead, hiding in the wings for centuries of endless stabs at vengence. When an Italian says "hiding" it sounds like "iding" and the letter H grinds its blade to the bevel waiting to strike again as Bruto did on that fateful day. And strike it still does! It tosses Italians the English word "happy" and mocks in epiglottal aspirations as it comes out "appy" as an ape. Stealthily, it then places itself in front of words where it does not belong making "haminal" out of "animal" and writhes in pleasure from the overdue pennance. "All of god's beasts are just haminals to you, aren't they!?" Merciless H lashes upon the descendants of Rome, "So are you still unready to tell me why did you not only steal everything from Greece except me, but then also quartered me upon capture?!" Yes, the asteriskly transgressive history of the entire letter 'H' before and after its halfing (as you can project from these few but piquant examples) is a matter worthy of only the highest most honorable hagiography, but who feels like bothering with the study of a soundless letter? If we fall into that trap of studying the pause, what'll we do when we actually confront one? Well...We won't. Life inside a pause makes the pause no longer a pause, but something of substance, no? In fact, it's only through the study of the letters around the 'H' that its essence can be clarified.

Luckily, chance dumbed me into an exercise for this pause that engages the study of 'H' without succumbing to its lack: the extraction of all of my wisdom teeth got me hopped up on meds and hence I was able to stare at a fish in a tank in a window of a restaurant in Chinatown and, bored and zoned to my gills, I made fish mouth back to him. As a crazy, I was without race and therefore blended in better in Chinatown than I ever had before. That's when it hit me: I couldn't remember seeing fish on any nature show open and closing their mouths all the time like they do in fish tanks so I began to think that what I initially deemed "fish mouth" was really just the fish imitating us, "human mouth."
The sound of my lips puckering and unpuckering during fish mouth was that of popping 'p's so it was very easy for me to push the low level of things by calling them "pesce" everytime I made fish mouth rather than "fish" -- the p's were already popping, and that's when it hit me again: It must have been the hundredth 'pesce' I did back to the fish that brought my shortage of breath to expose the clue.

The letter 'F' is a popped 'P'. They stuck a pin right in the bubble to propel the word and they did the same thing to 'B' before that to give us 'P'(though it seems before the 'B' was a 'B' it may have been a 'V' they actually closed up to harness a bit of this air for a change).

I said "pesce' and then I said "ffffffishhhhhhhh" and swam away up the street with all the air just released and I wrote this so many times "for you" rather than "per te" so you could feel the long waft of the words from Italy through France to us and both pick up and give all this air along the way. It is, afterall, the same direction planes fly from Europe to America in accrodance with the way the wind already blows. I wrote this so many times all around the streets from Chinatown through Nolita catching more air through the leaves in Sara Delano's park that I managed to make it to my computer in time before they kept moving away from my memory. This lead me to a remarkable conclusion: the Romans were right! Forget the letter 'H' unless you wanna get hooked like a fish. Take a good look at it. It stands firmer and more direct than any other letter in the alphabet and yet it only indicates air. A sentinel for the stop. As an intuitive Italian would say, it creates more "hacktion" than "action". 'F' and "P' are both directives pointing the same way the sentence flows, impelling more as they go. Unless it's as hot as a hog-ist day, if you've got things to do follow the 'F' and plant your 'P's.

-- Chris Leo

Hackney is what all slang is called when exported from its streets. When my girlfriend accused me of "tumbling down the sink" (drinking) while talking to "Aristotle" (the bottle) at the "near and far" (bar) before heading out on a "Berkshire hunt" (for cunt) in "Bristol City" (and titties) for "ham and eggs" (and legs) with "raspberry ripples" (nipples) I said, "Your hack book-learned Cockney makes as little sense outside of Hackney as the paranoia beneath it."

Hack (crack, wack) + ney (as opposed to "yay") = a part of London you are not from

-- Chris Leo

Hangry. My health teacher at my all boys Catholic High School in New Jersey once asked this question on a test,
"When your wife has PMS what do you do?
a) Call a doctor
b) Rub her feet and make her french toast
c) Remind her over and over again that her temper is just the result of PMS
d) Leave the house"
Unless you chose the letter d he would have marked that question wrong. I chose c when I was seventeen. Now, faced with a similar but far less odious take on a question about human nature I've learned another way to look at things simply:

When Italians are hungry, feed them. "Sapore" is "taste" in Italian, "sapere" is "to know", and they both stem from the same Latin root, sapere.

When Laura is hungry she is too flustered to worry about this letter H that's plagues Italians and words get fused together as the anxious bile boils them up.

hungry + angry = hangry

-- Chris Leo

The haviary is a harboring sanctuary sans sanctions but it takes some time getting used to for everything is yours if you only promise to set it free, including your own passage to come and go as you please. Founded on a feather from a wing plucked into a plume it pricks the present as it passes the past in a circular search – into the sky? Well not necessarily; there's even a limit beyond which birds can’t fly, a silent ceiling further astray of their way than the clumsy foraging on the ground. Don't forget, it is this clumsy foraging ground where birds mate. You have it, the aviary is yours, but if you hold it – well take a close look at that word: you can’t. Hold the have on the old ave or you’ll have the hold on Avenue Old, tweet tweet.

-- Chris Leo

Head of Pompey. I hadn’t spoken to Helen in ages. Too much had passed to attempt a patchy catching up so I decided instead to send her the fresh manuscript of “Serengeti” I’d slaved over all winter in Bologna. It was so fresh I had yet to change it from its working title "Viva Vigo, Viva Fica" to the proper "Serengeti". With too much to say, I opted for the simple and brief, “Woman, don’t worry, you’re not in this one (but then again no one is, it’s fiction afterall), xxx, cdl” email along with it which I naturally assumed she’d read as an “I’m missing you.” In two days I received her reply. Apparently it had been too long since we’d spoken. Apparently “Serengeti” was too cluttered with theories in the beginning to see the story through and by the end it was too driven by pure story lacking any theories period. The constant preoccupied soliloquies with the protagonist’s cock made it so no one, neither woman nor man, had the ability nor desire to empathize. Because the foundation to call this author a sexist, racist, misanthrope, all of 'em, stood on far far far less firmer ground (as in none) than if one were to call Dostoevsky a murderer for making Raskolnikov near loveable, she held herself back as much as she could with the pleasing-to-no-party-half-stepping “Let’s just say it uneased my humanistic side.” I began typing the gutted response of “Ha! So what you're really saying is that you’re jealous you couldn’t see yourself as the True Love and you’re paranoid that you may in fact be inspiration for one of the lesser breeds while at the same time feeling miffed that you’re probably neither and I always thought good fiction couldn’t be distinguished from non-fiction and vice-versa” when my girlfriend’s cat, the Marquis de Pajamas, dropped SeƱor Fluffy, my parrot of fifteen years -- the same parrot and dear friend I taught to speak three languages and walk a tight rope from mast to mast across a model of a 16th century Spanish galleon-- dead at my feet. I deleted the email and cried. Grazie Marquis, I suppose this means I’m in. Grazie, I suppose.

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, or Pompey, was a founding seat in Julius Ceasar's original Triumvirate who fled Rome upon news of Ceasar's fabled crossing of the Rubicon (I've since crossed that thing a thousand times in expectance of some die to cast). At the outbreak of the Roman civil war Pompey sought refuge from Ceasar in Egypt. Before disembarkation even, Egyptian king Ptolemy XIII decapitated Pompey in front of his wife and children in an effort to gain better standing with Ceasar. When Ceasar was then presented with Ptolemy's offering of the head of Pompey he's said to have burst into tears for, though technically a rival at the time, this was no fitting end for a former ally, son-in-law, and consul of Rome. Ceasar instead reciprocated the gift with the eventual regicide of Ptolemy himself.

-- Chris Leo

Hinis. The millennia of repeated pillaging of Gorth by the Morgs from Newbridge was known as “The Totally Mean War”. It is true that no Morg weaponry could penetrate Gorth hides, but any open holes they did find were deemed mere sheaths for their swords, sometimes going in one while coming out the other -- a move they called "the bloody boner". Gorths being lesser beasts refused the constraints of clothes and armor that could’ve protected them by simply covering up these orifices, but they saw them as rather "orifeces" which therefore needed the freedom to excrete. Superstitious Gorth priests also believed covering them unhallowed their traditional “hankypanky” mellow and “the pucusmucus”. Enter the hinis! Arghghgh!!! Arrrrrgggh! The Highness of Beach Street, fed up with the “whatever, whatever” attitude of these homoqueer priests, gathered all the wizards and witches of the land and decreed the creation of a new warrior with minimal orifeces. Within a fartnight, Gorth Maximus was born. With only one eye, one nostril, and one ear inbetween his eye and his nostril, he was already fairly rad. He was even green because the sorcerers befitted him with chlorophyll so he wouldn’t need a mouth, the sun would be enough. But the greatest innovation, the innovation that liberated Gorth from the blitzing of the Morgs once and for all was the hinis. Instead of one hole for the hiney and one for the weeney, thereby exposing himself to Morg blades twice, Gorth Maximus had only one hole for all functions called the hinis! It existed where our taint does now, inbetween both holes, further protected from damage by being blocked by the thighs which they called “the things”. Though the Gorths called this evolution the hinis, to the Morgs it was the penus, as it took care of both penis and anus functions. If you were good at it you could even make a loud boopsie from it.

If Australia had an Australia marsupials would have these there.

-- Billy

The hinternal debate is an integrally woven daydream of every cittadini: is the clamor of the conviviality killing me or keeping me alive? Can getting blitzed at night to soothe my nerves sizzled by the day when I eat well to aid me organs bruised by the blitzing at night to soothe my nerves properly be considered a “balance” of sorts or is there something more pastoral that better approximates that word beckoning from the hinterlands upstate?

-- Chris Leo


jodify said...

Fratell' - you breathe life into the voiceless vowel, [h]. Or is it a consonant? The lungs get their say either way with [h] (and [f] - the fricative sigh. Please start a school of comparative linguistics by way of architecture so I can apply and maybe get in (Bologna is a fine location). And yeah, what's more charming than the way "hungry" and "angry" get swapped by the intermediate English-speaking Italian? "Yodi, I was so hungry at heem -- perche deve essere cosi stronzo?" A favorite quote by one of my favorite Romans. Did you catch my prompting on what you might have to say about the Y-ified [j]? I love that my name sounds like "jah-D" in Italiano. Okai - before I'm off to plant some [p]s I have to applaud the the pause you've caused. The kind that makes you stop and think. EXSCOPATA !!

jodify said...


exhale with me now!