Archive for July, 2008

Card Gallery

I’ve added a new page which shows all of the playing cards I’ve used, linking to the associated pieces of writing. So now you can browse my work visually. I still need to take new photos of the earlier cards, and add all the aces of spades to the gallery.

Sometimes I like the card/magnet arrangements better than the writing. My current favourite is this week’s one, the eight of hearts with the defaced Van Gogh, followed by the three of hearts. Ten points to anyone who can guess or recognise what the tentacled alien magnet actually depicts.

Addendum: Thanks to some help from Bazaar of Dreams on the WordPress forums, it is finally possible to view the Jack of Spades: ɘloЯ on its own page. This used to be prevented because of a technical issue caused by the weird characters in the title. So if you were burning to leave a comment on it, now you can. But be careful… it might leave a comment on you first.

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Eight of Hearts: Two-part Harmony


Eight of hearts showing Van Gogh's Self PortraitLet’s sing together in our own harmonic,
Let’s cry out all the words we need to say.
Let’s irrigate our souls with liquid tonic
until the final doubt is washed away.

But you’re the star, you’re telling your own story
to crowds of singing parrots, humming birds.
Although I’m just a moon, reflecting glory
I paint my own self-portrait with your words.

You radiate the lyrics from your core
of feelings I can never see inside.
I catch your eye in rapturous rapport,
no matter if our hearts don’t coincide.

You shine to see us moons all sing your song,
We beam to know a star will sing along.

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Seven of Hearts: Varied Words for Snow

It’s macaronics de nouveau
écrit sur l’air de Words For Snow.

Des mots pour la neige (a line-by-line ‘literal’ translation of Words for Snow)

A seven of hearts featuring varied thrush sitting on a snow-laden branch

A seven of hearts featuring a varied thrush sitting on a snow-laden branch

Je respire l’anglais, l’air de rien
mais quand je respire le français,
c’est l’eau qui semble m’étouffer.
I took the plunge, and I’m aware
si je remonte, c’est moi qui perds.
Je parle français un peu de plus,
The air of English spreads diffuse
des petites bulles dans l’eau française,
a snow of words that Benoît says
C’est clair comme du cristal, même plus
I wish such grace could reproduce
My tongues hang out, mouthwat’ring pair.
Je veux en boire des rivières.
In melting snow I want to stay,
to swim like fish in Angel Bay
in fluid French that’s clear and fun.


Wine and cakes (a lipogram missing an English drink)

English is air I exhale,
French is a splash I expel,
choking on wine of my grail,
drowning in yield of my well.

l’Anglais je prends à la louche,
le français je crâche vers le ciel.
L’eau à la bouche qui me bouche
L’eau me lessive mais m’appelle.

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Six of Hearts: Synaesthete’s blues

Sixes of hearts featuring a yellow-headed blackbird, a dunkelbrauner bläuling, and some blue lettersTwo vodka oranges ’cause now I’ve got the blues
I cannot see the letters in the colours that you choose.

To start, the way you write your S
imparts a way-too-bright fluoresc-
ence, but it is for you, synes-
thete, near enough to true finesse.

‘Twould not be such a foreign ges-
ture, if it were an orange S,
but it’s a sin for you, es-
thete, saying it’s a blue S.

Two votes to orange S ’cause now I’ve got the blue S,
I cannot see your letter S in the colours of the true S.

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Five of Hearts: Amiaivel


Five of Hearts featuring a Barn Swallow, with the letter R and a castle turret

Once upon a time a queen was blessed with twin sons, which she named Nosch and Amiaivel.

Nosch fought his way out of the womb a few minutes ahead of Amiaivel, and thus thought himself the eldest. He knew that this meant he would become king, so he always demanded too many entitlements, and looked upon his twin as a slave. Amiaivel had a kind soul, and could not allow himself to deny his own twin’s demands. But the wise queen saw this, and as she began to get old, she announced to the people that Amiaivel would become king when she died.

Nosch was incensed that the second twin would steal his position, so he called upon a witch to cast a spell upon Amiaivel. The spell made Amiaivel, his fiancée Bella, and his maids into toads, and locked them in a dungeon beneath the vegetable patch.

Much time passed, and Amiaivel contented himself with talking and singing to his toad maidens. One day, a pixie floated in on a golden plume.

“Soon, the son of King Nosch will come to see you,” said the pixie. “He will demand the most beautiful shawl in existence. If you give him the one that the elves gave Bella as an engagement gift, then you will soon become human again, and be let back into the palace.”

As soon as the pixie had left, a young man descended into the toads’ dungeon.

“Excuse me, good toad,” he said. “I am Tais, the son of King Nosch. I seek the most beautiful shawl in existence. Can you help me?”

Though it pained him to give away such a valued keepsake, Amiaivel asked one of his maids to give it to him, and said, “This is the most beautiful shawl in existence, and one of my most valued posessions. Take it. I wish you good luck.”

Tais thanked him and left. By and by, the pixie came back.

“I must again ask a good deed,” she said. “The king’s son will come back seeking the most beautiful jewel in existence. If you give him Bella’s engagement band, then you will soon become human again, and be let back into the palace.”

In no time, the young man came back. “I am most unhappy to have to annoy you again, but I must find the most beautiful jewel in existence. Can you help me?”

Amiaivel hesitated to give up the symbol of his and Bella’s love, but knowing that the love itself would not lessen, he gave Tais the engagement band. “On this band is mounted the most beautiful jewel in existence, and one of my most valued posessions. Take it. I wish you good luck.”

Amiaivel sat glumly in his dull dungeon, awaiting the pixie. She fell into the jail with a potato plucked out of the soil above. “I can not yet fulfil my pledge, I must yet again ask you to give up something you love,” she said.

“I have nothing left to give. Make me human, I beg you!”

The pixie paid no attention to his plea. “This is a magic potato. If you put a lady toad in it, she will become human,” she announced. “When the king’s son comes to see you next time, he will need the most beautiful maiden in existence. Let Bella climb into the potato and leave with him, and you will soon become human again, and be let back into the palace.”

In a little while, Tais came to visit. “Again, I am most apologetic to ask an act of kindness. But I must fetch the king the most beautiful maiden in existence. Can you help me?”

Amiaivel had lost too much to his hateful twin, and could not give his fiancée to him as well. He gave the potato to Tais and showed him Puzchunza, his most beautiful housemaid. “Hollow out the potato and put this toad in it. The toad will become the most beautiful maiden in existence, and the one that I love the most. Take the maiden to the king. I wish you good luck.”

So the king’s son hollowed out the potato, and put the toad inside. As soon as he had done so, the toad became a maid, and the potato became a coach. Tais kissed the maid, and they left.

Again, Amiaivel sat and awaited the pixie. But she did not come. Many weeks he waited, until finally somebody came. This time it was Tais.

“Thou hast shown me immense kindness,” he said. “Because of thee, I have become king. In thanks, I would like to help thee,” he continued. “A pixie told me that thou beest my uncle, locked in a toad’s body by the late King Nosch. So I have found a good witch, who gave me this potion to heal you. Alas, she could not make enough to save thy housemaids.”

Amiaivel swallowed the potion, and instantly became human, still as young as he had been when he was enchanted. He went up to the palace, and was taken to Puzchunza, and given Bella’s engagement band. “Since this is the lady thou lovest the most, she will be thy wife.”

At once Amiaivel began to sob. “I lied. She is but my maid. My fiancée is still a toad! Oh, if only I had not been so selfish!” With that, Amiaivel dashed back into his cave, and found the middle pieces of potato which had been left behind. He massaged Bella with them, and soon she became human. But alas, not enough potato was left. She still had one leg like that of a toad, and skin pocked with boils. But she was still his beloved.

Amiaivel helped his fiancée to the palace, and soon they wed. Tais had fallen in love with Puzchunza, and was glad that she was not, in fact, Amiaivel’s fiancée. Those two also wed, and the two couples united to lead the kingdom with wisdom exceeding that of any single king.

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