“The Father Who Bowed” — Russell Edson

“The Father Who Bowed”


Russell Edson

A father presented himself. He said, ladies and gentlemen, your father …

His family applauded.

He bowed …

Ladies and gentlemen, he began, it has come to my attention over the last few decades that we are run up against a biological barrier …

His family began to applaud …

No, he began again, do not say that age is beauty, that the white-haired old woman trying to see the sock she darns through cataracts is worth the droppings of a rat.

No, I should say more service to the healthy microbe in the rat’s droppings than the poor darning that comes of arthritic hands and eyes in cataract …

No, indeed, more to be said for lesser forms than men astride their graves!

… We weary the promise unfulfilled, the downward repetition that ends in utter, utter death …

His family applauded …

Ladies and gentlemen, he began again, let us end this terrible business: stuffing brother George into the toilet like a turd; Mother into the garden like a potato; sister Ann up under the roof like an old cobweb; for me, the garbage can …

His family began to cheer; they were on their feet crying, bravo bravo, encore encore.

You do me too much honor, he sighed as he bowed; the curtain slowly coming down …

“Metals Metals” — Russell Edson

“Metals Metals”


Russell Edson

Out of the golden West, out of the leaden East, into the iron South, and to the silver North … Oh metals metals everywhere, forks and knives, belt buckles and hooks … When you are beaten you sing. You do not give anyone a chance …

You come out of the earth and fly with men. You lodge in men. You hurt them terribly. You tear them. You do not care for anyone.

Oh metals metals, why are you always hanging about? Is it not enough that you hold men’s wrists? Is it not enough that we let you in our mouths?

Why is it you will not do anything for yourself? Why is it you always wait for men to show you what to be?

And men love you. Perhaps it is because you soften so often.

You did, it is true, pour into anything men asked you to. It has always proved you to be somewhat softer than you really are.

Oh metals metals, why are you always filling my house?

You are like family, you do not care for anyone.

“Mr. Brain” — Russell Edson

“Mr. Brain,” something by Russell Edson

 Mr Brain was a hermit dwarf who liked to eat shellfish off the moon. He liked to go into a tree then because there is a little height to see a little further, which may reveal now the stone, a pebble–it is a twig, it is nothing under the moon that you can make sure of.

So Mr Brain opened his mouth to let a moonbeam into his head.

Why to be alone, and you invite the stars to tea. A cup of tea drinks a luminous guest.

In the winter could you sit quietly by the window, in the evening when you could have vinegar and pretend it to be wine, because you would do well to eat doughnuts and pretend you drink wine as you sit quietly by the window. You may kick your leg back and forth. You may have a tendency to not want to look there too long and turn to find darkness in the room because it had become nighttime.

Why to be alone. You are pretty are you not/you are as pretty as you are not, or does that make sense.

You are not pretty, that is how you can be alone. And then you are pretty like fungus and alga, you are no one without some one, in theory alone.

Be good enough to go to bed so you can not think too much longer.