Man = Animal = Vegetable = Mineral = Everything = Nothing

Anima Female souls, from the roots an, "heavenly," and ma, "mother," recalling a time when all souls were supposed to emanate from the Heavenly Mother. In the 16th century A.D. Guillaume Postel said every soul had male and female halves, the animus and anima. The male half had been redeemed by Christ, but the female half was still unredeemed and awaited a female savior. This was a new development of the old Christian view that only males had any souls at all. The third canon of the Council of Nantes in 660 A.D. had decided that all women are "soulless brutes."
Alchemist applied the word anima to all "spirits" considered female: Anima Mercury, Anima Mundi, etc. The Spirit of the World was connected with the elements of earth and water, like Eleusinian Demeter, "Mistress of Earth and Sea." One reason alchemists were suspected of heresy was their notion that the World-Soul was a female anima.
Carl Jung revived the terms animus and anima to describe reasoning and intuitive parts of the mind (i.e., left and right hemispheres). Every person's anima is "often symbolically connected with both earth and water. She is pictured as timeless and profoundly wise... Each man's first and formative experience of the anima is with his mother. Her true function in the mind, according to Jung, is creativity. [From Barbara G. Walker's The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets]
animism 1866, reintroduced by Sir Edward Burnett Taylor, who defined it (1871) as the "theory of the universal animation of nature," from L. anima "life, breath, soul." Earlier sense was of "doctrine that animal life is produced by an immaterial soul" (1832), from Ger. Animismus, coined c.1720 by physicist/chemist Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734) based on the concept of the anima mundi (q.v.). [From Douglas Harper's Online Etymology Dictionary]

[Betty Boop in Snow White, 1933, as animated by Roland C. Crandall]

In the flat, queachy soil of East Anglia, there are no large stones, no boulders to arrange in circles, as in other parts of England. Sailboats navigating slender canals appear to glide on land. Flints, eroded from chalk cliffs on the windswept coast eternally bitch slapped by a grim North Sea, were used to build sinister-looking black churches, some with a round, Viking tower from a thousand years ago. Gray sky, it will drizzle daily until Lucifer comes back, bringing fish and chips for all, ketchup or Thai hot sauce extra. This bleakness is accentuated by teenaged speed metal freaks, with Satanic black T-shirts, black lipstick, ink black or bright red hair over pasty, pierced skin, loitering in front of medieval churches. Pebbles were gathered from unswimmable beaches to build quaint houses, some of the loveliest I've seen anywhere.
I'd take a train or a bus from Norwich to Sheringham, then trudge miles up the craggy coast. A lovely town, Sheringham. "Lovely" was a constant on English lips, whereas in Italy, it was beautiful. "Che bello!" "Ciao, bella!" Sheringham's official website boasts that it's "a town which some say is The Jewel of the North Norfolk Coast." Typical English equivocation, isn't it? Outside Norwich's Adam and Eve, there's a sign: "Likely the oldest pub in Norwich." Its first pint was pulled in 1248. In America, one would just trumpet. In Madison, Wisconsin, I saw a supermarket declaring itself "world famous." For what, I didn't enter to find out.
Outside a Sheringham barn, there are two small stones that would skip across the road at the sound of a cock crowing. I was there, I saw it. Then there's the Stockton Stone near Beccles, Suffolk. Anyone who budges it will surely die. A few years ago, it was moved several yards by a highway construction crew. It's the 21st century, mates, no time for superstitious bullshit. Surely enough, one of the workers died violently right afterwards. I was there, I saw it. Don't even ask me about the apocalyptic stone near the lovely village of Merton. Disturb it and this entire earth, every city, mountain hideout, canyon and oldest pub, will be submerged by water.

A border town is exciting. The beginning and the end, impure and illicit, it promises surprises and adventures. Marking the bloody, not forgotten advance of one army, the retreat of another, it yearns to spread across that arbitrary, colorfully mapped line, be it a mined field or a thin river, to resume conquest or merely to reunite kin.
Châu Đốc is set amid a beautiful landscape of mountains and sugar palm trees. Even with a lucrative traffic of contraband goods smuggled in from nearby Cambodia, it is still an unusually poor town. Seven out of ten houses are thatch huts. (And we’re talking leaning, decrepit thatch huts, with their one item of luxury a constantly glowing black and white TV.) Châu Đốc has only been Vietnamese for about 300 years. Its earliest recorded settlers were the Funanese, who thrived from the 1st to the 5th century AD, their empire spreading across all of present day Cambodia, southern Thailand, southern Laos and into Malaysia and Burma. I doubt if even 1% of the current inhabitants of Châu Đốc have heard of the word "Funan."
Present day Châu Đốc is notable for its many Vietnamese, Chinese and Cambodian temples. The often overlooked Tây An Pagoda, founded in 1847, is one of the funkiest in all of Southern Vietnam, right up there with the Cao Đài Holy See in Tây Ninh (memorably dissed by Norman Lewis as "the most outrageously vulgar building ever to have been erected with serious intent"). Tây An Pagoda's exterior is a confectionery blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, Cambodian and Islamic influences. Every tilt of the head is rewarded with a slew of surprising ornamental details. Inside, its large collection of wooden statues includes a group of guys wearing leaf-skirts, with one sporting a peculiar bump on top of his head. Another statue is of a monk dressed in an (actual) brown robe, plastic glasses and knit cap, sitting serenely at a table, a fortune teller ready to do business.
The most famous temple in Châu Đốc is the Lady Chúa Xứ Temple, dedicated to a stone statue. Rebuilt many times since its founding in the 1820’s, its modern, tasteless buildings are now the destination for busloads of Vietnamese pilgrims year-round. They come to pray for, among other things, a winning lottery ticket or a good turn in romance.
According to legends, during the early 19th century, a young girl in Vĩnh Tế village started speaking in tongues and instructed the villagers to retrieve a statue from the mountain. They did as told, but the forty men assigned to carry the statue could not budge it. The girl linda blaired once again and told the villagers that this task was to be accomplished by nine virgins. Nine maidens were quickly recruited and, sure enough, they lugged the statue down the mountain with ease. They walked and walked until, suddenly, they could walk no longer. The statue had become unbearably heavy again. Where they set the statue down became the site of the temple.
Scholars have determined that this statue is actually of Indian origin, a Shiva Linga, and dates back to at least the 3rd century BC. In its present reincarnation, it has a painted face, an elaborate red crown, and a red and yellow Chinese robe, with two swirling dragons on its chest. Worshippers believe that the statue is getting larger each year, with measurements to prove it. “It is a kind of living rock," one woman told me.
The motif of virgins carrying a sacred statue has variations throughout Vietnam. Just as common is that of a statue choosing its own site. The most bizarre, perhaps, concerns “The Lonely Buddha," centerpiece of a temple on the outskirts of Saigon. According to legend, this statue was being transported in an airplane when it suddenly froze in midair, hovering like a helicopter. The impossibility of this is irrelevant to most Vietnamese, very few of whom have ever been on an airplane. The Lonely Buddha had apparently decided the spot on the ground right beneath the airplane was going to be his new home. A temple was built to accompany him.

Magic realism has become an international style, especially among writers from countries that still believe in magic. Better be safe than sorry, it can’t hurt, the gods and demons must be placated. Like the Chinese, Mexicans and southern Italians, Vietnamese are highly superstitious. They possess an unscientific mindset that allows them to believe just about anything... as long as there’s enough poetry in it.
A pregnant woman must never squat inside a doorframe, lest she will have a difficult childbirth. To avoid a late pregnancy, she must never step over a buffalo's harness. At the sight of the deformed and the handicapped, she must turn her gaze away. She should look often at the beautiful faces on calendars.
To ward off an outbreak of thrush, a child’s first excrement—an odorless yellow slime resembling egg yolk—is smeared into his mouth right after birth. At one month old, a baby’s scrotum is caressed upward with a warm hand, to prevent it from sagging. To tighten his nutsack, three pouches of uncooked rice could also be hung over a door, to be squeezed by people entering the room. If it’s a girl, a heated betel leaf is rubbed on the vagina, to prevent it from flaring. A child with a drowned relative must wear a brass anklet to insure against being “dragged" to a similar death later in life. Children under ten are discouraged from looking into a mirror, lest their soul, embodied by the mirrored image, should play tricks with them.
There’s no end to the superstitions. They are to guide you from the cradle to the grave. You must squash a snake’s head after you’ve killed it, else the head will return to bite you three days later. A chunk of cactus, latched to a door, prevents “bad spirits" from entering a house. Remove all buttons from a corpse’s clothing, else the spirit won’t be able to leave the coffin. In the house of the recently dead, a chalk “X" is drawn on all glass windows, to prevent the ghost from reentering. During the mourning period, strips of white cloth are tied to the legs of chairs and tables, ditto stems of plants, since a plant that does not grieve would surely die. When coffin sales are slow, a coffin maker would sleep inside a coffin to suggest death to the gods, to simulate/stimulate business.
Most interesting are brand new beliefs, reflecting contemporary life. Some people believe that an X-ray will trim a year or two from your longevity. Drinking milk will make your skin lighter, ingesting soy sauce will make it darker. Discussing a sensational murder, a Saigon woman told me that if the corpse’s eyes were wide open at the moment of death, the investigation was in the bag. “If they develop the frozen image in his eyes, they can see the murderer's face." The eyes are cameras, literally, in this woman’s eyes.
A former Vietcong, Mr. Hanh, told me about Bay Dom, a South Vietnamese general in charge of Chau Doc during the war: “Bay Dom could not be shot with a bullet. Once he dared an American advisor to shoot him several times, pointblank, with a pistol! But the American missed him each time! The only way to kill him was to shoot him in the eye!"
“Which eye?" I asked him.
“Either eye! The eyes and the asshole! But it has to be a bullet aimed right into the asshole. Once Bay Dom sat on a hand grenade but it would not explode!"
I thought it strange that Hanh would elevate a former enemy to a mythical figure. A scrawny man in his early 50’s, he wore a gold earring in his left ear and talked with a vast repertoire of hand flourishes and facial expressions. Later, his wife told me that her husband had become gay after a recent blood transfusion.
"You mean he’s HIV positive?"
"No, just gay."
Man as an animal. At first sight, the other is simply too weird and perhaps not fully human. He's more like an ape or the devil. Everything's off about him, from his dress to his table etiquette to his toilet manners. For the insanely narcissistic, this utterly otherness, this wrong, wrong, wrongness, can never be assimilated. We're also dirty, sure, but we've learnt how to contain, mask and package our shit. Not these filthy others. I find it interesting that Kafka, a German speaking Jew in a new Czech nation, dreamt up a small menagerie of talking and hybrid animals, from an "odradek" to chatty jackals, to a celebrity ape who first learnt to spit then, in a moment of triumph, blurted out, "Hallo!" Captured by sailors, his first human home was a ship, which was neither land nor sea but a rocking, artificial womb. He was a kidnapped, future slave and a boat person, or rather a boat ape, soon to become almost a person, by ways of the circus then the academy, his progress "accompanied by excellent mentors, good advice, applause and ochestral music." Seeing no place, no future for himself, he could never procreate, and I'm talking about Kafka here, not the ape, who had, as a companion, "a half-trained little chimpanzee and I take comfort from her as apes do."

[Some wild alliteration by George Herriman, from a Krazy Kat strip of December 11, 1938. Click to enlarge.] In Krazy Kat, a black cat is in love with a white mouse, who responds to the cat's affection by throwing bricks at him. In Musical Mose, Herriman's earliest strip, launched in 1902 and lasting only three episodes, a black musician tries to get gigs by "impussanat[ing]" other ethnicities. Hosed and stomped by two white women for pretending to be a Scot, Mose cries, "I wish mah color would fade." Back home, his wife asks, "Why didn't yo impussanate a cannibal?" Born in New Orleans, Herriman was probably of mixed races, but he never said so, so even his closest friends thought he was a Greek or a Frenchman, born in Paris. But what exactly is a "Greek," or a "Frenchman, born in Paris"? Herriman was a mutt, but who isn't, really? Every tribe is totally impure. I'm supposedly Vietnamese, but there are 57 ethnic groups in that country. Vietnam was also colonized by China for a thousand years. My last name, Dinh, is the same as the Chinese "Ding," and there was even a 20th century Chinese fiction writer, Ding Ling, with my exact name. If she were alive, I would definitely sue this broad for impussanating me. I should also drag Kafka's ape to court!
To escape ourselves, we pretend to be just about everything else. With love, self-love and spitefulness, we also think everything else wants to be us. I translate 13 anthropomorphic Vietnamese folk poems:

The wind escorts the moon; the moon escorts the wind.

When the moon sets, who can the wind be with?
The wind nudges the moonlit flowers.
You keep the bud, Miss, but the blossom is mine.
The wind nudges the water spinach and shallot.
It is a shame you have no father.
Gió đưa trăng thì trăng đưa gió.
Trăng lặn rồi gió biết đưa ai?
Gió đưa, gió đẩy bông trăng.
Bông búp về nàng, bông nở về anh.
Gió đẩy đưa rau đưa lá hẹ.
Cảm thương em có mẹ không cha.
Mr. Moon, Mr. Moon,
Come down here and hang out with me.
There's white rice in the pot,
And sticky rice in the pot,
Square rice cakes with bean paste,
A jug of wine and a straw mat,
A boy scooping for oysters, and a girl
Holding a baby. We can go watch the fishermen trawl.
There's a coconut-shell dipper in the water jar,
And a weaved basket for rinsing rice.
There's a comb for your hair,
Water buffalo working the rice paddies,
Water spinach in the pond,
Mr. Star in the sky.
Ông trẳng, ông trăng,
Xuống chơi với tôi,
Có bầu có bạn,
Có ván cơm xôi,
Có nồi cơm nếp,
Có nệp bánh chưng,
Có lưng hưu rượu,
Có chiếu bám du,
Thằng cu xí xoài,
Bắt trai bỏ giỏ,
Cái đỏ ẵm em,
Đi xem đánh cá,
Có rá vo gạo,
Có gáo múc nước,
Có lược chải đầu,
Có trâu cày ruộng,
Có muống thả ao,
Ông sao trên trời.
The moon comes down
To play with Mr. Chinh:
"Here, take my bell."
The moon comes down
To play with a pot:
"Here, take my cover."
The moon comes down
To play with a fig tree:
"Here, take my sap."
The moon comes down
To play with a mandarin's wife:
"Here, take some money."
The moon comes down
To play with a potter:
"Here, take a gourd."
The moon comes down
To play with a fishing pole:
"Here, take my hook."
The moon comes down
To play with a grapefruit tree:
"Here, take my flowers."
The moon comes down
To play with an egg-fruit tree:
"Here, take my fruits."
The moon comes down
To play with a woman:
"Here, take my husband."
The moon comes down
To play with a man:
"Here, take my wife."
The moon comes down
To play with a merchant:
"Here, take my elephant."
The moon comes down
To play with a banyan tree:
"Here, take my leaves."
The moon comes down
To play with a fish:
"Here, take my scales."
The moon comes down
To play with a scholar:
"Here, take my books."
The moon comes down
To play with a metalsmith:
"Here, take my knife."
The moon comes down
To play with a blacksmith:
"Here, take my hammer.
Give the blacksmith back his hammer, moon.
Give the metalsmith back his knife, moon.
Give the scholar back his books, moon.
Give the fish back its scales, moon.
Give the banyan tree back its leaves, moon.
Give the merchant back his elephant, moon.
Give the man back his wife, moon.
Give the woman back her husband, moon.
Give the egg-fruit tree back its fruits,,moon.
Give the grapefruit tree back its flowers, moon.
Give the fishing pole back its hook, moon.
Give the potter back his gourd, moon.
Give the madarin's wife back her money, moon.
Give the horse back its liver, moon.
Give the fig tree back its sap, moon.
Give the pot back its cover, moon.
Give Mr. Chinh back his bell, moon.
Ông trẳng, ông trăng
Xuống chơi ông Chính,
Ông Chính cho mõ.
Xuống chơi nồi trõ,
Nồi trõ cho vung.
Đến chơi cây sung,
Cây sung cho nhựa.
Đến chơi con ngựa,
Con ngựa cho gan.
Đến chơi bà quan,
Bà quan cho bạc.
Đến chơi thợ giác,
Thợ giác cho bầu.
Đến chơi cần câu,
Cần câu cho lưỡi.
Đến chơi cây bưởi,
Cây bưởi cho hoa.
Đến chơi cây cà,
Cây cà cho trái.
Đến chơi con gái,
Con gái cho chồng.
Đến chơi đàn ông,
Đàn ông cho vợ.
Đến chơi kẻ chợ,
Kẻ chợ cho voi.
Đến chơi cây sòi,
Cây sòi cho lá.
Đến chơi con cá,
Con cá cho vây.
Đến chơi ông thầy,
Ông thầy cho sách.
Đến chơi thợ ngạch,
Thợ ngạch cho dao.
Đến chơi thợ rào,
Thợ rào cho búa.
Trả búa thợ rào.
Trả dao thợ ngạch.
Trả sách ông thầy.
Trả vây con cá.
Trả lá cây sòi.
Trả voi kẻ chợ.
Trả vợ đàn ông.
Trả chồng con gái.
Trả trái cây cà.
Trả hoa cây bưởi.
Trả lưỡi cần câu.
Trả bầu thợ giác.
Trả bạc bà quan.
Trả gan con ngưạ.
Trả nhựa cây sung.
Trả vung nồi trõ.
Trả mõ ông Chính.
The cornstalk is the soybean's aunt.
The soybean is the cucumber's brother.
The cucumber is the cassaba melon's cousin.
The cassaba melon is the watermelon's mistress.
The watermelon is the corn stalk's uncle.
The corn stalk is the soybean's aunt.
Lúa ngô là cô đậu nành,
Đậu nành là anh dưa chuột,
Dưa chuột là ruột dưa gang,
Dưa gang là nàng dưa hấu,
Dưa hấu là cậu lúa ngô,
Lúa ngô là cô dưa chuột.
Ant, you're suing that sweet potato.
You're sneering that I'm too poor,
Who else are you going to live with?
I have nine piles of grain, ten water-buffaloes,
A fish pond with planks for washing your feet.
Con kiến mày kiện củ khoai,
Mày chê tao khó, lấy ai làm giàu?
Nhà tao chín đụn, mười trâu,
Lại thêm ao cá có cầu rửa chân.
What's more beautiful in a pond than a lotus?
Green leaves, white flowers, yellow stamens.
Yellow stamens, white flowers, green leaves,
Near mud but does not stink of mud.
Trong đầm gì đẹp bằng sen,
Lá xanh bông trắng lại chen nhị vàng.
Nhị vàng, bông trắng, lá xanh,
Gần bùn mà chẳng hôi tanh mùi bùn.
Listen, listen to this bird talk:
Always coming on is the cuckoo.
Not too nice, a crank, is the cormorant.
Working himself ragged is the teal.
Eavesdropping is the drongo.
Can't walk straight is the heron.
Won't come out at night is the snipe.
Eating by the potful is the pelican.
Snacking in the alley is the lark.
Pole vaulting is the peacock.
Having blue feathers and a red beak is the quail.
Always picking a fight is the plover.
Toting a bright book is the soothsayer hawk.
Having never been proposed to is the cotton feathers.
Living alone, a widow, is the peewit.
Having a steel stomach is the wagtail.
Won't tend to its own children is the duck.
With nothing to do, we talk about birds.
They eat, grow fat, follow each other away.
The weaver is smart, then clever.
The owl nests on a hillock at the edge of an island.
The racked-tail treepie has a bulletin:
When it calls, the sisters are coming.
The crows are just like men,
Coming back from a swim.
Nghe vẻ nghe ve nghe về cầm thú:
Hay quyến hay dụ là con chim quyên.
Nết ở chẳng hiền là con chim còng cọc.
Làm ăn mệt nhọc là con chim le le.
Nghe vẻ nghe ve là con chim chèo bẻo.
Chân đi khấp khẻo là con chim cò ma.
Tối chẳng dám ra là con chim mỏ nhác.
Chim ăn từng vạc là con chim chàng bè.
Chim ăn xó hè là con chim lảnh lót.
Cầm xào mà vọt là con chim công.
Đỏ mỏ xanh lông là con chim trĩ.
Đánh nhau binh vị là con chim bò sau.
Có sách cầm màu là con chim thầy bói.
Không ai cưới hỏi là con chim bông lông.
Ở góa không chồng là te te hoành hoạch.
Dạ bền tơ sắt là con chim chìa vôi.
Có đẻ không nuôi là con chim vịt.
Ngồi buồn kể các món chim.
Nó ăn nó lớn nó tìm nhau đi.
Dòng dọc nó khéo lại khôn.
Con cú lót ở đầu cồn con cù.
Chim khách nó đã đem tin:
Nó kêu thì có chị em tới nhà.
Quà quạ cũng như người ta:
Rủ nhau đi tắm đàng xa mới về.
The cat breaks a pan.
The dog comes round, gets hit.
The cat breaks a pot.
The dog leaves the house.
Con mèo đập bể nồi rang.
Con chó chạy lại nó mang cái đòn.
Con mèo đập bể nồi bầu.
Con chó nó rầu nó bỏ nó đi.
The cat sits on a palm tree,
Asks about Uncle Rat.
Uncle Rat is at the market, cat,
To buy shrimp paste and salt,
In memory of your dead father.
Con mèo ngồi trên cây cau,
Hỏi thăm chú chuột đi đâu vắng nhà.
Chú chuột đi chợ đường xa,
Mua mắm mua muối giỗ cha chú mèo.
The chicken clucked, pecked on a lime leaf.
The pig goes, oink, oink, buy me an onion.
The dog sobbed standing up, sobbed sitting down,
Said, Mother, please, buy me a dime's worth of galingale.
Con gà cục tác lá chanh.
Con lợn ủn ỉn mua hành cho tôi.
Con chó khóc đứng khóc ngồi.
Mẹ ơi, đi chợ mua tôi đồng riềng.
This heron is a yellow heron.
When your mother's away, who do you sleep with?
I'd stay with grandmother, but she has no breasts.
I'd stay with my uncle, but he's a man.
Cái cò là cái cò vàng.
Mẹ đi dắp đàng, con ở với ai?
Con ở với bà, bà không có vú.
Con ở với chú, chú là đàn ông.
This heron is a scowling heron.
You beat your wife often, who do you sleep with?
When I beat her, I beat her in the morning,
Never beat her at night, or you'll sleep alone.
Cái cò là cái cò quằm,
Mày hay đánh vợ mày nằm với ai?
Có đánh thì đánh sớm mai,
Chớ đánh chập tối, chẳng ai cho nằm.
The heron died last night,
Left two grains of rice and three coins,
One coin to buy an oboe and a drum,
One coin to buy fat for the altar lamp,
And one for a fistful of lady's thumb leaves,
To be chopped fine, in memory of the dead heron.
Cái cò chết tối hôm qua,
Có hai hạt gạo với ba đồng tiền,
Một đồng mua trống mua kèn,
Một đồng mua mỡ, đốt đèn thờ vong,
Một đồng mua mớ rau răm,
Đem về thái nhỏ, thờ vong con cò.

[Photo taken in Sapa, northern Vietnam, 1995.]
With this, my 30th post, I'm technically done with the Harriet Blog. I'll definitely show up again, only not so regularly. Goodbye, arrivederci, adios and tạm biệt. Cheers!

Originally Published: June 4th, 2008

Linh Dinh was born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1963, came to the U.S. in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two collections of stories, Fake House (Seven Stories Press 2000) and Blood and Soap (Seven Stories Press 2004), and the novel Love...

  1. June 5, 2008
     Don Share

    Speaking of George Herriman, he also illustrated Don Marquis' "archy and mehitabel." And speaking of man as animals and such, what happened to archy is that his bad vers libre doomed him to be reincarnated as a cockroach; he continued to write by jumping up and down on a typewriter keyboard, landing on they keys with his head; here is one of his early compositions, written on Marquis' typewriter:
    expression is the need of my soul
    i was once a vers libre bard
    but i died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach
    it has given me a new outlook upon life
    i see things from the under side now
    thank you for the apple peelings in the wastepaper basket
    but your paste is getting so stale i cant eat it
    there is a cat here called mehitabel i wish you would have
    removed she nearly ate me the other night why dont she
    catch rats that is what she is supposed to be fore
    there is a rat here she should get without delay
    most of these rats here are just rats
    but this rat is like me he has a human soul in him
    he used to be a poet himself
    night after night i have written poetry for you
    on your typewriter
    and this big brute of a rat who used to be a poet
    comes out of his hole when it is done
    and reads it and sniffs at it
    he is jealous of my poetry
    he used to make fun of it when we were both human
    he was a punk poet himself
    and after he has read it he sneers
    and then he eats it
    i wish you would have mehitabel kill that rat
    or get a cat that is onto her job
    and i will write you a series of poems showing how things look
    to a cockroach
    that rats name is freddy
    the next time freddy dies i hope he wont be a rat
    but something smaller i hope i will be a rat
    in the next transmigration and freddy a cockroach
    i will teach him to sneer at my poetry then
    dont you ever eat any sandwiches in your office
    i haven't had a crumb of bread for i dont know how long
    or a piece of ham or anything but apple parings
    and paste and leave a piece of paper in your machine
    every night you can call me archy

  2. June 5, 2008
     Linh Dinh

    Hi Don,
    archy is certainly one of our finest cockroach poets. I can only think of one or two who are clearly better than him.