I Can Relate to Russia

Saturday, April 5, 2009

Dear Maud,

Verily, this world is wrack’d with ruin. Seas are up, trees are down and the price of shares is neither here nor there. Worst of all, our very air runs short of breath; winded, as it were, by words.

Words? Yes, words! Phrases that swarm like honeyless bees, poised to puncture the unwary ear; sentences that settle like an inky dew, set to unseat the unwatchful eye.


What to do? Collect them, Maud; pluck words from the aether and pin them to paper – be sure, though, to lock them away. Because, like cells in culture, morphemes spawn without pity in the minds of men.

Heed my advice and not my deeds. For here, spread like stars across an electric sky, are my latest collections – good, bad and itinerant.

1. ‘Copper Plate and Soldier Pants.’ Characters, perhaps? Yes, but only in a book of accounts. 2. Alfresco confectionery beware; for, as one menu puts it: ‘Outside cakes will incur twenty dollar cakage.’ Serves them right. 3. But there’s no need to despair. ‘Good news for custard apples,’ the headlines declare. 4. Not an early bird? Fine, because ‘customers may experience issues using Self-Care between midnight and four a.m.’ 5. Of course, things could be worse – as this bus-stop disclosure attests: ‘Dr Nicolla said I have to keep my scars out of the sun.’ Haven’t we all?

Enough. Let’s get personal.

1. Queen Jane (to this endangered epistolist): ‘Your brownie points are in the red.’ 2. Giraldo: ‘Cream, Anton? So that’s something you eschew rather than chew?’ 3. Kitty: ‘I was young once.’ Anton: ‘Only once?’ 4. Giraldo: ‘Anyway, I had a goose—’ Kitty: ‘A mongoose, you mean.’ 5. Announcement: ‘Munching is allowed during this session.’ Kitty: ‘But is munching aloud allowed?’ 6. About the thing Kitty thought she knew; after all, she had heard a glimpse of it.

Finally, Maud, a touching confession plucked from the gutter.

It could be because I was born there
It could be ’coz I lived there for 17 years
It could be that I speak the language
I don’t really have any attachment
to the place, since I moved on
But it is the only place I can think of.
I can relate to Russia.

Indeed, the world is not lost for words.

Yours etc.