Playing with words, the original Black
Heretic Insider Dambudzo Marechera writes his own rulebook then spits it in your face. More than mere blah blah…
The rain was smiling through bright blue lips. Fuzzy Goo, at the window, thought of his dog. He loved his dog. The sad rain made him love his dog even more. Rain is lonely. Rain is memories. Rain is cool in a hot brain. Rain is love of Fuzzy Goo’sdog. He loved that dog. Love is green grass on a warm breezy day. Love is sunlight smiling brightness through lips that are brown and blue. Brown is not a boy but the land. Land is just soil made of dead things and dead human beings. Fuzzy Goo is a human being. But Fuzzy Goo does not like going to the toilet. Human beings have to go to the toilet because they eat dead things and drink something horrible called water. Fuzzy Goo does not like being a human being. Human beings hide their horrible bodies in things called clothes. Clothes get torn and dirty. If you are a little human being and your clothes get torn and dirty, then all the big human beings shout and beat you up. Fuzzy Goo’s dog likes to beat up other dogs. But it does not beat up Fuzzy Goo. That is why its name is BLAH. Blah means a dog that does not beat up Fuzzy Goo.
Blah may also mean a little human being who is very, very boring. In this case ‘little’ means a very small brain in a big head. Fuzzy Goo’s dog talks all the time but no one can hear it. When it talks it does not even know that it is talking. Blah may also be a girl who does not like to do things in the school bicycle shed. Blah is also a father you’re ashamed of. Blah is a big human being who makes you talk to SOMEONE you cannot even see or smell. This is called praying. They say mad human beings talk to themselves. Maybe they are praying. Fuzzy Goo thinks Jesus’ real name was Blah, because his dog is love. Love is boring. That is why it is Blah.
Blah is being dragged kicking and screaming to school, to church, to the dining table, to the nation’s flag, to bed without supper. Blah is how big human beings torture little human beings. If you are a little human being you must report them to the United Nations which has fists bigger than your father’s. If all little human beings joined together in one terrible scream all the big ones would go mad and do horrible things in their bedrooms. That is how little human beings come into the world. Your father and mother go mad in the bedroom and then you are born nine months afterwards. If you see your mother’s stomach getting bigger and bigger it is not because she is drinking a lot of beer. It is because she has done horrible things with daddy and you are going to have another Blah little person for a brother or sister. That is when you know mother has a horrible thing called a breast which the new horrible little person likes to suck just like a piglet. But before the horrible little person comes out kicking and screaming and spitting blood out of mother’s stomach, it is called a pig in a poke or a bun in the oven. It is very embarrassing to walk to school with a mother who is carrying a large pig in a poke. It is very blah. Very, very blah.
Blah, the dog, and Fuzzy Goo live in something frightening called society. Sometimes the big human beings call it a nation, or they call it a very long word ‘infrastructure’ which was made up by a very old man with a beard and a very bad temper. Society is the secret club of big human beings. The job of this secret society is to make little beings grow up. Growing up means giving up all things you like to do. Growing up means not saying your favourite bad words. Growing up means turning into a monster just like your father and your mother. Growing up is to become blah. Very, very blah.
Fuzzy’s dog does not like the society of other dogs. A dog is a dog but all dogs together are blah. This is the same with all big human beings. Very blah. So when you know you are growing up you must kill yourself before you become just another very boring blah. If you are a coward, then you must smoke ganga or get mean and drunk every day and night. It is usually better to run away from home. All you need is a rucksack and a small tent. If you stay in society and the big ones want to beat up the other society next door they will put you into an army and you will get your small finger and private parts blown up with bombs. It is very painful. If you stay in society, the big ones will make you stand in line in the streets and wave stupid little flags and sing horrible national songs, and be kissed by the thick drunken lips of the biggest of the big human beings. They won’t let you pee when you want to but when they want you to.
So Fuzzy Goo is at the window looking out at the saliva of rain. Saliva is what they give each other when they kiss. (Ask Emma when you get her alone in the school bicycle shed.) (It’s difficult to get her in there though, unless you have at least three chocolate crunchies.) (And, ah, Emma is a descendant of Jane Austen – ask your teacher to tell you about the paranoid parson. Paranoid means seeing all the things which big humans have been taught not to see.) This is a paranoid story – it was supposed to be my homework for tomorrow, but homework like tomorrow is what the Mexicans call mañana, which never comes.
If you want to know everything dirty about human beings, save your pocket money and buy all the books by a grown-up big human being called Dean Swift. It’s the best way (if you’re a coward) to grow up by not growing up at all. Like me, he thinks horses should ride human beings. He’s a good blah. A very, very good blah. Also buy a false beard, stilts, some very long trousers, a padded jacket and a bowlerhat, and then go to your father’s favourite bar and watch what he does with all the other stupid big human beings. If that doesn’t unglue your eyeballs from your brain, then go with your mother to tea with one of her ‘friends.’ They tell you about loyalty, truth, honour etc. but (if you buy and read my book Naked as a Parent) if you spy on them you’ll find they are liars, blackguards, false, vain, vulnerable and all the other bad words I could tell you if the police were not looking over my shoulder right now. (Actually, the police cannot read but you know I’ve just come out of jail for telling a big human being that he was something a toilet with any sense of dignity would refuse to flush.)
Did you ever see Flash Gordon?
Try and see the film Amadeus. It’s really ungrown up.
There is something called death which the big humans turn into religion and funerals. You have to have money for this. They actually like to make a song and dance out of the death of any person. When my father died I just wanted to be on my own but mother made me see the body and watch them throwing tons of gravel on top of him. I felt very blah, then.
The more you grow the nearer you are to death. You can also die at any time. (Emma almost died when she fell out of Parson Austen’s apple tree when he shouted something very, very un-Christian). Grown-ups know more terrible bad words than you do because of the things they do in the bedroom. They remember very dimly the illusion of eternal youth which little human beings enjoy. In this they are like krakens. (Krakens are worried littler gremlins growing out of the poet Tennyson’s bald head. Your parents probably like Tennyson better that throwing stones through the windows of Parson Austen’s house which makes an interesting churlish noise. You are bald when your thoughts fall off your head like Shakespeare’s brow. Shakespeare was the little guy who knew all the big lies about England. England is a tadpole coming out of the nose of Europe. Europe is the one the Americans have got but which the Russians will not give. Americans are born grown up. Russians are legally dead when they are born. All this is called footnotes.) I’ve got Athlete’s Foot – do you know what Huck Finn used to get rid of his?
Write a pen-friend letter to Joan Baez, Kurt Vonnegut, and Norman Mailer, they’ve all got Athlete’s Foot of the brain on society. Try to get a detective to find a man called Kilgor Trout – he’ll give you even more details about all this than I’m giving you. Trout is not a fish or something Richard Brautigan wrote about. (Ask your teacher – if your teacher is a moron write to UNESCO in Paris.) He is not a parent. Mailer is not a postman. He actually tried to kill his wife and he loves to watch big human beings shot by a firing squad of other big human beings. Vonnegut is odd. He is a big human parent who tries to trick little ones into liking him and when they do he unbuttons his overcoat to show his horrible private parts. Baez is Mexican. I am reading her book Daybreak – get your mother to buy this intimate journal. I like her only because I think if you talk about the horrors of Vietnam she will come with you into the school bicycle shed all the way.
Mum is usually what they call a bitch. A bitch is a female dog like Scott Fitzgerald explained to Max Perkins (his editor at Charles Scribners and Sons in New York). A dog that is a bitch but is also your mother (don’t you see them on Parents’ Day?) can be very, very Blah. These are the things your so-called parents tell you – actually you were both on one of the lovely stars you see on every clear night, and one of you is born when Halley’s comet crosses the skies above your land. (Ask your teacher what a comet is, but I think she won’t know, so ask the janitor or the boy who sells you corn at break).
You know what I said about big people! They have a torture machine called drought which they bang on the heads of the little people: they say there is no food. Drought means no food for the little citizens. All the big chefs will be eating silly – but not for you. Especially if you are sick. The big human beings have made the atmosphere (the air you breathe) and the land (what you stand on when you throw a rock thru Parson Austen’s window) so damaging to live on and breathe in that both kill you slowly.
As I am writing now two cars have collided outside my window. I cannot see much blood because I think it’s inside, but there are four police cars and several ambulances (police are called pigs in elite society). Ambulance men are called warthogs because they rape you (girl or boy) if you are unconscious – they think doing that to unconscious people is a great experience.
Who are you
Fuzzy Goo found a pebble called Pebble sleeping off a heavy drinking session right in the middle of the street. Pebble is very beautiful, but you can’t see Pebble. Pebble is ungratefully beautiful, because of all the dust and exhaust fumes Pebble lives in. Pebble does not drink alcohol. Pebble only drinks the liquids that drip out of passing cars. Pebble has never moved. Why should Pebble move when Pebble knows that to move is to boulder the big ones. (Pebble can’t afford an American Express card.) Actually Pebble dreams of being a pebble on the very top of Everest but that is a big human’s ugly disease. Ambition has one arm where his navel is. (Ask Emma what a navel is but remember a navel is not a novel and this is, in a paranoid way, nothing to do with parrots or parents who are a different kind of parrot as you found out when the Family Planning Unit phoned your father about condoms and the pill – this is a novel.)
Fuzzy Goo found Pebble sleeping it off, snoring lightly under the passing cars and lorries full of big humans driving small humans to places which you and I would call prison but the big ones call ‘office’, ‘doctor’, ‘school’, ‘hospital’, ‘kindergarten’ and all the other horrible places small humans are taken to.
Pebble is not at all blah. She is concrete. Your bedroom is actually made of Pebble, in a concrete way, of course. (Ask the men in the laundry van across the street, but they are actually spying on you.) (Read my book on spies – it’s in all the trashcans.) (Spies use laundry vans. When they want to kidnap you they swaddle you like little Jesus in smelly laundry and take you to places where you unintentionally lose your fingernails and private parts and you unintentionally jump out of a barred window on the nineteenth floor. That’s what they call suicide.) Concrete is also when what you do is really inside your brain, inside your feelings. There is nothing wrong with a brain until you meet a big human. Your feelings are okay until you meet the other really big one. (He sticks pins in you which put terrible liquids into your body and make you what the USA calls, sing. I don’t know if they sing in Sing-Sing. Sing-Sing is a USA prison where they put little humans who have refused to grow up. The men in the laundry van are waiting for Pebble to wake up. She probably will think they are garage attendants – that’s Paradise. Paradise is where you are what you want to drink but the grown-ups won’t tell you.)
Fuzzy Goo found Pebble sleeping off all that drink yesterday.
Like I said: drink does you good when big humans are after you.
Who is Fuzzy Goo? Pebble, still snoring, said something about Fuzzy which he cannot clearly remember. But it sounded like: ‘It’s not round at all. It’s flat.’
Fuzzy dodged several army lorries that were full of little humans being sent to an army and to a battlefield to give up their little fingers and their private parts. Ask teacher about Hemingway and warfare and bullfighting. Bulls are the terrible things they call steaks and make you eat. Hemingway was a writer who shot himself in the head (dead) with a very big, a very ugly rifle. His books are in the library. You can dance on his grave to cheer him up but I think you’ll have to call Castro and Nixon first. Castro is a big human who hides a gun in his beard though everyone wants to know what he really is like without the beard. Nixon was a US president who liked the things you like, like cursing, lying, stealing, sneaking, hiding behind everyone when things got hot. He is famous among the little USA humans for being the first disgusting prefect to lead a country. There’s another one called Bokassa (he is very black in and out) who actually did a Napoloen on a country in a funny continent called Africa. (Africa looks like an upside down revolver but it also looks like your private parts – if you are a boy like Bokassa. Some people called PAC think it looks like a fist seen from the wrist of the Cape, to the knuckles of Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Egypt. A lot of grown-ups go to Africa to have a look and take a photo of all the little people starving there. I think I told you about the thing called drought. They make a lot of money filming little African people starving to death. Rock’n roll bands are doing it. Sportsmen are doing it. Photographing little humans dying.
Television really tortures little humans. It makes them think of BMX bicycles and goodies. It makes them little prototypes of the blah adults they will grow into with time. It makes them enjoy watching (on TV) the destruction of things so that they are too tired to destroy the society that is actually a lunatic asylum. A lunatic is someone who knows there is something wrong somewhere but does not know exactly what. An asylum is where they are going to put me when they catch you reading all this I am writing.
Try to steal from your library a book called The Medium is the Message by a Canadian man-child called Marshall. He is a professor at McGill University. But be careful of him: he not only wants to be the tail that wags the dog but also the actual hide of the society. Good thing is since the 60s and 70s he hasn’t been seen around much.
But, Fuzzy Goo
Who are you?
Who is Pebble to you?
Fuzzy Goo has a terrible fart – it’s better than most chemical weapons. He wants to use it to rescue Pebble from the men in the laundry van.
Pebble thinks it’s very blah when you know things but you don’t know how or why you know the things. Maybe that’s why she said (snoring under the army lorries):
‘It’s not round at all. It’s flat.’
Fuzzy thinks she didn’t say that at all. Fuzzy Goo thinks it’s a code. (Code is the secret words of spies.) Fuzzy had his stilts, false beard, tall trousers etc. and went to his father’s favourite bar. It was 8.00 pm. As soon as he got a seat he saw his father! His daddy was just falling off a fat woman’s lap, and clanking onto the floor. When several people tried to help him, he fought them off and would only allow the fat woman to help him.
It was really ga, I mean ga-gah.
Gah is a friend of Pebble.
P.S. If it’s Friday go back a page and ask whether African Socialism means you can be as nasty, dirty, savage, native, murderous as Jack and his hunters in William Golding’s book Lord of the Flies. (P.S. is not a footnote, more like when you have to flush a toilet again because a little piece is refusing to go down there.)
Actually it’s Gah who is refusing to be released from prison. The prison is a few blocks from where Pebble is snoring. Gah has barricaded himself in his prison cell. He really doesn’t want to get OUT THERE. Out there is what Big Ones call free society but all Little Ones know it’s worse than constipation. (Constipation is when all the big pieces of dung inside you go on strike and refuse to be made redundant in some stinking sewer call OLD PEOPLE’S HOME or a REHABILITATION CENTRE when you flush the toilet.)
Gah grinds his true grit teeth and screams: ‘I’M NOT GOING down there!’
His screams are so mad all the dogs and hyenas in Fuzzy Goo’s world echo his howls, his gnashings, his foul bitter bickering barks.
His dream-screams are so terrible the bugs in First Street abruptly stop singing and begin to tear and claw at all the rich passersby. (Bugs are beggars, though Little Buggy claims they are no relations of his. Little Buggy is snooty – a Little One who thinks he is so much bigger that everybody else, only he breathes whatever is outside the atmosphere – at this point the geography master rises in a towering rage. But bugs are beggars, and Blah, the dog, knows it too.)
‘I’M NOT GOING down there!!’ he screams so hard his own ears are ringing deaf. Dream-screams.
His screams so harass space and time that all the city clocks do not know which way to turn and time begins to move with no one giving it the time of day. All the clock faces look like mouths that have mislaid their false teeth.
Pebble opens one eye. Pebble opens the other eye. As Pebble does so an eeky blotch of petrol splats Pebbles face. Another blotch – a series of blotches splat Pebble’s drinking being to a ‘what’s that?’ howling refrain of sirens. Through the ooze Pebble suddenly sees Fuzzy Goo sticking out a finger in a rude gesture.
‘They’re going to kill Gah!’ Fuzzy shouts at Pebble.
Pebble listens. Pebble hears what has woken him up. Gah screaming like he is being fed alive to blind crocodiles.
Pebble sobers up.
A nightmare of cars, lorries, hikes, vans homes down on Pebble…
This story is in print as part of Chimurenga Vol. 15: The Curriculum is Everything (available here).
Presented in the form of a textbook, Chimurenga 15 asks what could the curriculum be – if it was designed by the people who dropped out of school so that they could breathe?