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A Descriptive Lust
a text derived from Giacomo Joyce by James Joyce, 1907

by William Walsh

pure air on upland road. trieste waking rawly: raw sunlight over huddled browntiled roofs. multitude of prostrate bugs await national deliverance. rises from bed of wife's lover's wife: busy housewife astir, sloe-eyed, saucer of acetic acid hand. pure air silence on upland road. hoofs. girl on horseback.

lady goes apace, apace, apace...

pale face shy and nervous, quizzing-glasses. long and fine, disdain and resignation: a young person of quality. brief syllable, brief laugh, brief beat eyelids. retwisting her twisted body. long eyelids beat and lift. easy wave of tepid speech. wave is spent.

under creamy summer haze. drooping hat shadows falsely smiling face. hot creamy, wheyhued shadows under jawbones. eggyolk yellow on moistened brow. rancid yellow humour lurking within softened pulp of eyes. come out of house come upon her suddenly giving alms to blind beggar. answers my sudden greeting, turning and averting black basilisk eyes.

frail gift, frail giver, frail blue-veined child.

high heels clack hollow, tapping clacking heels, high and hollow noise. rounded and ripened: rounded by the lathe and ripened in seclusion.

moving mists hill upward from night and mud. hanging mists, damp trees. light in upper room. she is dressing to play. ghosts in mirror.

girls sliding astride toboggan: harem. tightly capped, jacketted, laced in deft crisscross over flesh-warmed tongue, short skirt taut from round nobs of knees. white flash flake snowflake. she turns halts to hear rush jumbled words of lessons, hours, lessons, hours. slowly pale cheeks flushed with kindling opal light.

she does simplest acts with distinction. face, handsome, flushed, strongly jewish features. we walk down hill together. perfectly said: courtesy, benevolence, curiosity, trust, suspicion, naturalness, helplessness, confidence, frankness, urbanity, sincerity, warning, pathos, compassion. heart sore sad.

long lewdly leering lips: dark-blooded molluscs.

she never blows her nose.

gentle creature. midnight, music, words spoken softly. easy now! walk the streets of dublin at night sobbing another name.

sellers offer altars, first fruits: green-flecked lemons, jewelled cherries, shameful peaches with torn leaves. carriage passes through lane of canvas stalls, wheel-spokes spinning in glare. make way! father and son sit in carriage. owlish wisdom stares from eyes brooding.

silent, darkness. under arches in dark streets near river whores' eyes spy fornicators. dark wave again and again and again. dark love, dark longing. darkness. sliding-space-ages-foliage of stars-and waning heaven-stilness-and stilness deeper-stilness of annihilation-and-voice.

great bows on slim bronze shoes: spurs of pampered fowl. virgin most prudent. skirt caught back by sudden moving knee; white lace edging of underskirt lifted unduly; legstretched web of stocking.

she raises arms in effort to hook at nape of neck a gown of black veiling. she cannot. she cannot. moves backwards mutely. raise arms, help: arms fall. hold websoft edges of gown, drawing them out, hook them through opening of black veil: her lithe body sheathed in orange shift. slips ribbons of moorings at shoulders, falls slowly: lithe smooth naked body shimmering silvery scales. slips slowly over slender buttocks, smooth polished silver, over furrow, tarnished silver shadow. fingers, cold calm moving..touch, touch.

play lightly, softly singing, languid song. loth to depart: loth to go. age is here now. opening darkness of desire, eyes dim breaking east, shimmer the shimmer of scum that mantles cesspool of slobbering. here are wines ambered, dying fallings of sweet airs, proud pavan, kind gentlewomen wooing from balconies, sucking mouths, pox-fouled wenches and young wives, gaily yielding to ravishers, clip clip again.

raw veiled spring morning, faint odours float, morning paris: aniseed, damp sawdust, hot dough of bread: steelblue waking waters chill heart. creep and lap about island whereon men lived since stone age. tawny gloom in vast gargoyled church. cold as on that morning. upon steps of far high altar, naked body of the lord, ministers lie prostrate in weak prayer. voice of unseen reader rises, intoning lesson from hosea. stand beside me, pale and chill, clothed with shadows of sindark nave, her thin elbow at my arm. flesh recalls thrill of raw mist-veiled morning, hurrying torches, cruel eyes. soul sorrowful, trembles and would weep. weep not for me, daughter of jerusalem!

expound shakespeare to docile trieste: hamlet is most courteous, gentle, simple—rude only to polonius. embittered idealist can see parents of beloved—grotesque attempts on part of nature to produce her. marked you that?

walks before me along corridor and as she walks a dark coil of hair slowly uncoils and falls. slowly uncoiling, falling hair. does not know and walks before me simple and proud. simple pride, stainless blood and violation: tie girdle and bind up hair in simple knot.

once more in chair by window, happy words on tongue, happy laughter. bird twittering after storm, happy its little foolish life fluttered out of clutching fingers of epileptic lord and giver of life, twittering happily, twittering and chirping happily. frank only for frankness' sake, lady of letters.

stands black-robed at telephone. little timid laughs, little cries, timid runs of speech suddenly broken. choock, choock! black pullet frightened: little runs suddenly broken, little timid cries: crying for mamma, portly hen.

sodden walls ooze steamy damp.  symphony of smells fuses mass of huddled human forms: sour reek of armpits, nozzled oranges, melting breast ointments, mastick water, breath of suppers of sulphurous garlic, foul phosphorescent farts, opoponax, frank sweat of marriageable married womankind, soapy stink of men. all night watched her, all night shall see: braided and pinnacled hair and olive oval face, calm soft eyes. green fillet upon her hair and about her body green-broidered gown: hue of illusion of nature and lush grass, hair of graves.

words in her mind: cold polished stones sinking through quagmire. quiet cold fingers touched pages, foul and fair, on which shame shall glow forever. quiet and cold and pure fingers. on stairs. cold frail hand: shyness, silence: dark langour-flooded eyes: weariness.

her body has no smell: odourless flower.

whirling wreaths of grey vapour upon heath. face, grey and grave! dank matted hair. lips press softly, sighing breath comes. kissed.

voice, dying in echoes of words, dies like wisdom-wearied voice eternal calling abraham through echoing hills. leans back against pillowed wall: odalisque-featured in luxurious obscurity. eyes have drunk thoughts: into moist warm yielding welcoming darkness of womanhood. soul itself disssolving, streamed poured flooded a liquid abundant seed.

soft crumpled peagreen cover drapes lounge. narrow parisian room. hairdresser lay here. kissed her stocking and hem of her rustblack dusty skirt. It is other. she. came yesterday to be introduced. ulysses is reason. symbol of intellectual conscience. ireland then? pacing corridor in list shoes playing chess against himself. hairdresser lay here but now, clutching my head between knobby knees. intellectual symbol. plunging gloom has fallen.

speaks. weak voice beyond cold stars. voice wisdom. making wise! voice never heard. coils along crumpled lounge. cannot move, speak. coiling approach of starborn flesh. adultery of wisdom. soft sucking lips kiss left armpit: coiling kiss on myriad veins. burn! crumple like a burning leaf! from right armpit a fang of flame leaps. starry snake kissed: cold nightsnake. lost!

form of speech: lesser for greater.

spread under feet, carpets for son of man. await my passing. in yellow shadow of hall, plaid cloak shielding chills, sinking shoulders: halt in wonder look about, she greets me wintrily, passes up staircase darting an instant out of sluggish sidelong eyes, a jet of liquorish venom.

—not convinced such activities of mind or body unhealthy—

twilight. grey eve on wide sagegreen pasturelands, silently dusk and dew. she with ungainly grace, filly foal. grey twilight moulds softly slim and shapely haunches, meek supple tendonous neck, fine-boned skull. dusk of wonder.

unreadiness.  bare apartment. torpid daylight. long black piano: coffin music. poised on its edge a woman's hat, red-flowered, umbrella, furled. arms: casque, gules, blunt spear on a field, sable.

housemaid tells that they had to take her away at once to hospital, suffered so much, so much,  it is very grave. walk away from empty house.  feel about to cry. will not be like that, in a moment, without a word, without a look. hell's luck will not fail!

operated. surgeon's knife probed entrails, leaving raw jagged gash of passage on belly. see full dark suffering eyes, beautiful as eyes of antelope. cruel wound! libidinous god! small witless helpless and thin breath. bend and hear: voice. sparrow under wheels of Juggernaut, shaking shaker of earth. please, mister god, big mister god! goodbye, big world!

quaint old musician makes all beauty seem quaint and far. hear variations for clavichord, old air: youth has an end. vague mist of old sounds, faint point of light appears: speech of soul heard. youth has an end: end is here. know that well.

love my umbrella.


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