I crawl up out of what the Rat Poet calls
“the foxhole.” I`m not goin to sweat it.  I think
my pants lost their crease when I left Toronto.
And I`ve gone about ten thousand miles since then,
if you count bush plane,  cattle-car and canoe.
And there are moments of beauty… some of that
little prick`s lines are showing promise…
But anything we have worked on in the past two
weeks has disappeared.
        Instead I find this: 

“I know this isn`t normal:
It doesn`t matter much to me
 `Bout normal or abnormal, deviant or deranged.
I`ve got ingrown toenails and moral turpitude,
And I can`t reach my toenails anymore”

Editor:         It`s brain-numbingly bad.  Before there was
a lot of shit, but at least we were working on
“literature”…  One thing  for sure about this: its not
literature…. It`s doggeril for sure. Like shit from a
dog… I was about to make a note in the verse and
But it was!  It was most definitely the place for a colon…
with  that dogshit dogeril! (sp?)
         I`ve heard the rhythm before….
 I`m trying to identify the source…

         Fuck it… I need a coffee. And I better
pour a little shine into it… “The Mad Poet of Rat River.”
I know how he got that name — if I stay here
much longer, I`m going to be nuts myself.  I wonder
how many braincells I lose every time I take a drink of
this stuff.   Look, it`s effervescing as I pour it…
And I`m damned if i CAN SPELL effervescing!
Ten years at the University and I can`t spell!
       That fucking mayor, or janitor, or whatever
he was… He looks like I feel… He looks like a mad
idiot…. A moron and on the low end of the intelligence
scale for morons.
       I`m starting to understand those screens tho.
I`ve been bitten 30 times since I sat down to
read whatever horse`s ass dogeril this is.
       And I`m sitting inside the house!

“Suffering from no vitamins, no vegetables too –
spend too long in the toilet seeing
 What I have consumed ;          (OUCH!  NO!  HELP ME!)
I`ve never seen an apple
I`m malnourished at the root
And I don`t go out the front door anymore.
                                                       (WHEW! NO MORE!)
“I avoid the whole world; 
The world is strange to me:
The rug  is a jungle that the cops
      can`t even see!                             (NO!)
And the ceiling keeps on waving
Like breakers in the sea;
And we can see Arcturus
But there isn`t any “we”                      (!!!!!!!)                  
And I don`t go out the front door

I sit in perfect balance
Getting lighter all the time;
Swell up like a blowfish
Float past  maidens on the Rhine.
And I know I`m getting somewhere
Because I`m going blind;
And I don`t go out the front door

Angels in the kitchen want money
From me, too;
And Frankie blows the tuba
To the cat between his shoes.
And Artie`s watching Daisy`s ass,
She lifts the  washing on the line
The mice jump to the tuba sounds.
Go running cross the boards;
And I don`t go out the front door

The smoke  keeps pouring out
The foxhole and the door;
I don`t have no fire alarm
There`re no firemen anymore;
And the giant river
Flows as sweet and smooth as silk
 As silent church bells
Ring inside my mind;

I`d go to the wedding
But there`s no women here to wed
I saw my blankets moving
There`s a weasel in my bed;
I let the insects bite me
It`s the only sex I get
I don`t go out my
Front door

Oh God! Lord. HELP ME!   And I really mean it
this time:
            IT`S THE ONLY SEX I GET!

           Help me!  What the FUCK have I gotten
  myself into!

I`m 3000 miles from anywhere
And  I haven`t seen a ship.  
The planes won`t even land here
 we`re not  a radar blip.
And the wolverines are laughing
And Matilda`s laughing, too
If I don`t find some conveyance
I`l drink all this overproof
 And next I`ll put my head right 
Through this board…               

            NOW I`M DOING IT………!         
                       I`M GOING TO SHOOT MYSELF!
          Where`s the fucking gun?  For that matter,
where`s the stupid fucking poet… He`s not here.
He`s not in the foxhole!
           Has he gone to town without me?
            Ha! Ha”  Oh yeah, I forgot. There IS NO TOWN!

             Editor666…. looks out the scruffy
pane of glasses that passes for a window
looking out over the scruffy yard…. It`s quite quaint
actually…  YEAH, RIGHT!  There are some old wooden
kitchen chairs standing at all angles in the yard….
Is that a man  sitting in that chair?
       There he is! He`s got a toque on and his 
boots… HOLY SHIT!  His pants are down!
And… oh fuck!  He`s not moving!
            The editor runs outside (me, I run outside) I find the
mad poet is unconscious. He`s passed out with his pants
down. His groin is crawling with flies… Everything looks
unnaturally red and swollen… I guess so!
           If you can`t leave your horse outside for an hour – you sure as hell shouldn`t be sitting outside bare-assed! You gotta know that`s a bad idea. And MadPo of Rat River has been living here for years!
         There are about ten mosquitoes on the guy`s dick! At least five actively sucking blood from the  head.  Now that`s a fetish! INSECT LOVE!
           I run inside and grab a towel  and start swatting the 
flies away…. His balls are protruding in an unnatural
way… They`re teed up, literally, like a golf ball on a T. How
the hell did that happen? I`m whacking at him with a towel.  Even this doesn`t wake him up.
          I didn`t sign on for this!
         He`s got a rope looped around his balls about
ten times. No wonder they`re sticking out.  I
pick him up and throw him over my shoulder. I kick open
the double-screened door. I walk past the wood stove
carrying the guy. He`s not light. He`s got big
shoulders… probably from all the paddling he does
each time he tries to escape this place.
         I toss him on his bed, which looks like a big
stack of clothes and pillows and furs.  I make sure
he`s not face down so he can breathe.
         I make sure there`s no large insects crawling on
him.  I check for 100 pound weasels. Anything could
be in that bed. I give the furs a kick. And that`s
as good a friend as I intend to be.
         He can take the ropes off his testicles

          I go past the wood stove to the food table.
I make sure the sceen doors are latched tight.
I pour myself a long tall drink -moonshine and water
and berries squeezed in. (I almost said. “buries”!)
          Another few hours out there and there wouldn`t
have been much left of him. And I`m just talking
about the insects.
          If a wolverine had ever shown up…goodbye
Martha!  That would have been a real weasel picnic
right there!
          The big weasels have a certain fondness
for  testicles.  That`s why the bears run away from
them!  They go right for the balls, and they don`t
miss often. They`re low to the ground and
they run hunched over and they have those 
long pointy noses and, I suspect,  
really vicious sharp teeth.
         A big weasel will chase a 2000 pound bear right away from a carcass.  And the bear`ll right like mad for
the hills, the wolverine running right  after
him for about fifty feet, trying to nab his danglers
from behind.
        You don`t believe me?  Ask the experts.
Who are the experts?  I`m half an expert… I`ve
only been here a month, but I`ve seen this
        I guess if you want a real expert you`d
have to ask that mad fool idiot janitor-mayor
of Wait-A-Bit
          And that`s about as much about weasels
as I want to know.  You probably feel
the same way, too.

        I take a drink. It`s too weak… too much water.
I set it aside.  I`m sure I can find a use for it.
        I grab a second tin cup, fill it about a third
full of the pure stuff…watch it effervesce  (sp?)
Take a straight shot…. Jesus! I`m seeing stars!
I feel it burning like turpentine all the way doen into
my stomache.
       A shot glass of this stuff will burn on fire
 for half an hour. O.K. No straight shots… My ears are burning and my eyes are burning, 
but I`m feeling better.
       What the hell am I doing here?   People pay me to
edit their work.  At least they did in New York City,
Toronto and London.
      And I get talked into “a two month paid vacation”
 (He offered me cash – five grand down, five
at the end of my contract.. and god knows I needed
a vacation!).   Talked into this…
by that mentally-challenged moron janitor-mayor
80 miles to the West on the Mackenzie… the big river!
Ha!  I`m not even on the Big River.. I`m on the small
river… Rat River… swatting the flies off the genitals
of Ratty here…. That`s not exactly editing now, is it?
Although there are certain parallels…
       With the shit that this guy`s writing now! Swatting
the flies off something is kind of a cute metaphor.

       Better look at another verse.
       In a minute.

      This booze is pretty good… when you get past
the initial burn and the Varsol taste.
        I have another slug… Now I`m laughing about
nothing in particular… Better watch it.  Pretty soon
I`ll be out there trying to fuck the flies myself…
Didn`t someone`s uncle die that way recently?
        Yeah, I know I didn`t make that one up myself.
And I sure as fuck hope I didn`t dream it!
        He was related to the mayor with the beekeeper`s
hat…which he never takes off.  His uncle… Running off
into the woods with a hard-on – wearing nothing
but a Sony Walkman listening to “I believe in miracles!….
Where you been, you sexy thing?”
         And he was never seen again.  All they
found was his Walkman… That`s how they know
which song…
          Maybe this sex with the insects thing is catching.
And if it`s catching, maybe I can get workman`s

          Ho! Ho!  That`s “one toke over the line” thinking. It`s important to stop yourself when you start thinking in a truly abberant fashion.
         INSECT SEX, indeed! That`s why they call me Editor 666. I spot stuff like this. That`s why they pay me the big
bucks… I spot aberrant thinking, Damn right!
And I`m, seeing plenty of it around here!
         I`m ruthless, that`s what they say. They`re right
I`m going to ruthlessly pour a drink
      I pour a half cup of straight  white lightning. … I pour some ketchup into the overproof and mix it… just to cut the
edge a little.  Don`t want to lose that `burn` completely. Add a few ounces of water – not nearly as much as before…

       (((   Aw, fuck! It`s been about an hour! I can`t leave
him in there much longer. That rope around his ballocks
looked like bungie cord! And his testicles were an unhealthy coulour of purple even back then.))
         I walk back past the wood stove, stagger a few
steps to the right. I have that first drink in my hand. It`s
about one quarter alcohol. A strong drink, a brisk drink. Nothing too heavy… you can`t quite light it on fire, but
you almost can. 
        His  testicles are deep purple now. I throw my drinkl
right on his balls.  What a surprise. Not a sound.
 At least this should disinfect the situation. I`m doing
him a favour,
        I go back into the kitchen

         I hit the empty tin cup with a pencil. it makes
a pleasing sound. I fetch three more tin cups and pour
a different amount of moonshine in each one. I hit all of
the cups, playing different percussive notes and chanting
playfully along

I hear gasping sounds from the back of the
room… Like a large animal stumbling around
in the woodshed having discovered something horrific
in the corner.
        The gasps turn to low surprised grunts
and fast howls of astonishment. Then the bellowing
         The mad poet of Rat River is understanding
the dark side of Insect Love.
         People are in pain all the time. But rarely in a person`s
life does he experience the full flowering of agony.
The Mad Poet is experiencing that rare moment now
and I have to think he`l be a better poet for knowing
this profound truth  buried deep in the nature of
        Life is pain, otherwise we`d all fall asleep.
        He will be fully awake to the twenty-first century
and he will understand the meaning of New Age Editing.
         In about forty minutes his screaming will stop and
 I`m sure he`ll feel the whole experience has been worthwhile.

       And what it means to be rescued by Editor 666

It`s a howl that would bring cops cars from three
precincts, if we were in the cities.   But we`re not in the
cities.Howling and screaming and, in fact, torture of all kinds are perfectly legal up here in the Territories.
        This is like the Old West.  No, this is better than the
Old West. In the Old West, you howl and scream like this,
someone would likely hear you and run to your aid.
        Up here, you can scream like this all day and howl
like an agonized wild dog under a fat full moon – no one will do a thing. No one will even notice.
        I`d help but, as you know, I`ve already helped him.
I`ve done all I feel I can in good conscience do. I imagine when he gets that bungie cord untied, and blood starts rushing back to the situation and the nerve endings in his scrotum truly awaken, he`ll know what it means to be fully
alive and sentient in the twenty-first century.
       He`ll  also know what New Age Editing means.

(C) 2013-2016 by W.G. Milne


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