IV. Dartmoor


mass of tubes and dribble – saw Blood as Claudius did in the immortal battlefield, red nausea on a shiny platinum plate against ripped backdrop of sky. Scent has faded into a background nuzzle of sweat and urine – sweetly organic, too close to life (to seal lips or whistle for the abhorrent intestinal custard). Scent needs no sugar. Scent takes sugar for the pleasure of deprivation. Scent is the chemical agent, Scent has knives crossed at its back and at its calves and garters. Scent has garrotte wire in its lank masses and resistor-shaped latches in the clockwork telephone, Scent has green exploding cords in the orange and glass spittle in the wine. Scent is causa sui, and Scent has its own ideal form in Plato’s cave of cotton-stuffed tortoises and dartboard slander. Heart has faded into a high-pitched whine, it objects to being starved or scuffled, and Scent is a hard master.


“I have Scented, i swear!”
Der Mann wrings his heads and leaves animal trails on his velvet suit – but the duck either fails to hear, or fails to comprehend. “Sir”, says the duck,”the judge has spoken, it must be that you walk the pond, and now too!” he completes the sentence only with a slight turning away at the end, fingering his breeches coarsely. Der Mann looks to the left, where a crowd has gathered across the pond to him. he briefly acknowledges that to pass them would be inevitable, and to step on the tip of their tapered shoes he would consider a small victory. Der Mann leans down with a creak of his brittle spine, tidying loose laces in an efficient double cross knot. he then realises that his supply of inconsequential actions had run out – he could not delay his fate. with a sense of resignation, Der Mann tightens his coat around himself sets upon a perilous journey : The Nobbled Circumference Of The Pond. His quiet and forced abandoning of thought is interrupted by a loud declamation, “I am watching!” crows the duck, rocking himself front and back gleefully, on the stiletto tips of his webbed feet. his crass clapping emerges as a cloud feathers. Der Mann looks back and, meeting with a vision of such terrifying joy, scarpers and begins to run in a protracted¬†scuffle. it had never occurred to him that it was possible to run. run and not walk around the pond – but here he was, galloping long and spritely across its edges. it then chanced upon Der Mann that, once started, it would be difficult for him to stop running, and then he would have to resort to the trouble of running two rounds around the pond. but why two? why not three? or four? why even stop at all? why not run his life across the pond?


One evening, five years later, a young washing-maid walks arm-in-arm with her blithe darling across the meadows and into the woods. the light is dim when they chance upon a pond a little way from the dirt path. the washing-maid lets out a sigh at the sight of the pond, for she remembers the place well, and had witnessed in person the famed Ducker-ponding of Chancellor Augsworth. she had been younger in years then. the humiliating end of men had been considered apt sunday rejuvenation for her – by her parents. “i remember this place”! she exclaims, making quite a journalist of her companion. “the poor man, he never really was right in the head. went running off around the pond, nothing would make him stop, and he never did look forward to it anyway.” she shoves her sheathed toe lackadaisically at a conspiracy of pebbles by the pond, then delineates with laborious effort,”look, here’s where his laces scuffed the dirt.” her tirade is punctuated by a sigh, more theatrical than engaging. “it was the shame that killed him, mother always said. something fishy when a respectable man like that refuses to take dinner. and for what – a midnight jog?”


[word experiment – ‘Scent’ played with in and out of context]