A nose is a nose…

September 2, 2015


I define a nose, as follows, — intreating only beforehand, and beseeching my readers, both male and female, of what age, complexion, and condition soever, for the love of God and their own souls, to guard against the temptations and suggestions of the devil, and suffer him by no art or wile to put any other ideas into their minds, than what I put into my definition. — For by the word Nose, throughout all this long chapter of noses, and in every other part of my work, where the word Nose occurs, — I declare, by that word I mean a Nose, and nothing more, or less.

Laurence Sterne
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman


“Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.

Sally Albright: Why not?

Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.

Harry Burns: No you don’t.

Sally Albright: Yes I do.

Harry Burns: No you don’t.

Sally Albright: Yes I do.

Harry Burns: You only think you do.

Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?

Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.

Sally Albright: They do not.

Harry Burns: Do too.

Sally Albright: They do not.

Harry Burns: Do too.

Sally Albright: How do you know?

Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.

Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?

Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.

Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?

Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.

Harry Burns: I guess not.

Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.”

Nora Ephron
When Harry Met Sally


It’s possible that the fact that literature has been commercialized now in a way it never was before has had an influence. That is, the fact that people now talk about “bestsellers,” that fashion has an influence (something that didn’t use to happen). I remember that when I began to write, we never thought about the success or failure of a book. What’s called “success” now didn’t exist at that time. And what’s called “failure” was taken for granted. One wrote for oneself and, maybe, as Stevenson used to say, for a small group of friends. On the other hand, one now thinks of sales. I know there are writers who publicly announce they’ve had their fifth, sixth, or seventh edition released and that they’ve earned such and such an amount of money. All that would have appeared totally ridiculous when I was a young man; it would have appeared incredible. People would have thought that a writer who talks about what he earns on his books is implying: “I know what I write is bad but I do it for financial reasons or because I have to support my family.” So I view that attitude almost as a form of modesty. Or of plain foolishness.

Seven Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges
Fernando Sorrentino

In the Lottery…?

September 2, 2015



Penis Enlargement Cream in Pakistan

Oh, terrible, terrible…

September 2, 2015


Young Ghost

September 2, 2015


So we went out in the morning,
like a young wind blowing,
even among the rose fields
and the orange blossom trees,

and went up into the mountains
to the white snow falling,
and touched the coldest peak of ice,
and kissed the sun ;

and came down in the evening
by the roads and the rivers flowing,
down to the no tide ebbing,
and the sea ;

when there came one between us,
like a young ghost waiting,
hands in our hands between us,
to be born ;

so there shall be no more climbing
nor glory upon the mountains,
for the young grave ghost between us
who would, and must not, be born.

Jane Lunt

(Jane Lunt, poet, writer and illustrator was well known for her children’s fables).

Before You Go

September 2, 2015


say why you closed our joint account
without a word, your fingers splaying
each soiled note, meticulously tallied,
onto the mahogany table straining
beneath the weight of coiled desert roses

(carved by Saharan winds from compacted sand
and gathered by Sabrian tribesmen
to lie in souks with filigree birdcages
and curl-toed slippers).

In their petals I see a mirage: sand-
swaying shadows, the feel of camel
whose ragged skin absorbs our sweat
from thighs clenched tight as memory.

Ruth O’Callaghan

Ruth O’Callaghan has five collections of poetry, holds the prestigious Hawthornden Fellowship has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was awarded a gold medal for her poetry at the XXX World Congress of Poets in Taiwan. Her work is much anthologised and translated into many languages including Italian, German, Mandarin Chinese, Mongolian, Hungarian and Romanian.
An Unfinished Sufficiency (Salmon – to be published in 2015)
The Silence Unheard (Shoestring 2013, reprinted 2014)
Another Morning of Quiet Pleasures (Soaring Penguin 2013, reprinted 2014)
Goater’s Alley (Shoestring 2010: reprinted 2010, 2011)
A Lope of Time (Shoestring 2009: reprinted 2011, 2012)
Where Acid Has Etched (bluechrome 2007)

The See-Through Tongue

September 2, 2015


Queuing at this African check-in desk
this moony-moany britishfucker’s mono-fucking
We do hope your ticket’s

Because, my friend, although we legions
of profligate babblers and heathen bunglers
can retreat to our jungles
of dipthongs, plosives and fricatives,
we can also, follow your every god-damned word perfectly.

Which makes you fragile,
Like these glass babies.

White-hot from the womb

the midwives wipe them

like vases.

Richard Goodson

(Richard Goodson is a poet and teacher of creative writing. His poetry has been published in Oxford Poetry, Poetry News, The Interpreter’s House and Chroma. He has also co-edited a book of poems and stories by the children of refugees and migrants. Recently, he has had two poems published in The Penguin Poetry of Sex, ed. by Sophie Hannah.)