Canadian nature writer Ernest Thompson Seton had an odd bill presented to him on his twenty-first birthday. It was a record kept by his father of all the expenses connected with young Ernest’s childhood and youth, including the fee charged by the doctor for delivering him. Even more oddly, Ernest is said to have paid it. I used to think that Mr. Seton Senior wad a jerk, but now I’m wondering, What if he was-in principle-right? Are we in debt to anyone or anything for the bare fact of our existence? If so, what do we owe, and to whom or to what? And how should we pay?

Margaret Atwood, “Payback. Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth”.

Car Crash Blues

Car Crash Blues or Old Adrian Henri´s Interminable Talking Surrealistic Blues

You make me feel like
someone’s driven me into a wall
You make me feel like
Sunday night at the village hall
You make me feel like a Desert Rat
You make me feel like a Postman´s hat
You make me feel like I’ve been swept under the mat

You make me feel like
something from beyond the grave
You make me feel like
Woolworths After-Shave
You make me feel like a drunken nun
You make me feel like the war’s begun
You make me feel like I’m being underdone

You make me feel like
a Wellington filled with blood
You make me feel like
my clothes are made of wood
You make me feel like a Green Shield stamp
You make me feel like a bad attack of cramp

You make me feel like
a limestone quarry
You make me feel like
a Corporation lorry
You make me feel like a hideous sore
You make me feel like a hardware store
You make me feel like something spilt on the floor
You make me feel like
a used Elastoplast
You make me feel like
a broken plastercast
You make me feel like an empty lift
You make me feel like a worthless gift
You make me feel like a slagheap shifting

You make me feel like
last week’s knickers
You make me feel like
2 consenting vicars
You make me feel like and overgrown garden
You make me feel like a traffic warden
You make me feel like General Gordon
like a hunchback’s hump
like a petrol pump

like the girl
on the ledge
that’s afraid to jump

like a
garbage truck
with a heavy load on

Adrian Henri en “The Mersey Sound“.


Personalmente, si llego a estar en la posición de Nakheel, me hubiera prohibido a mí mismo acercarme a ese demencial ejercicio de miniaturización, pues se trataba de una perita en dulce para cualquier humorista. Yo hubiera enviado unos acorazados pequeñitos para hundirme o unos minis submarinos que me torpedearan. La situación me recordaba la columna sobre Psicogeografía que había escrito tras pronunciar un discurso en vistas a recaudar dinero para una organización caritativa llamada Niños de la Guerra en la Real Corte de Justicia de Londres. La cosa consistió en una cena organizada por la revista de economía Euro Week para los agentes de bolsa de la City, y durante mi relato de la violación de una niña afgana de trece años, más su consiguiente encierro y tortura por haber cometido el “delito” de “adulterio”, los ya cocidos bolsistas no habían dejado de darle con ganas al Chateau Petrus.

Evidentemente, les puse verdes, tanto en persona como en el papel. Sin embargo, no fueron los bolsistas los que intentaron demandarme por libelo, sino los picajosos caritativos. Yo había dicho en mi artículo que creía en el trabajo que llevaban a cabo-ayudar a niños en zonas de guerra-, pero que no estaba seguro de que eso fuese lo que deberían hacer: “Las organizaciones caritativas, y demás ONG, se suman a las aventuras de nuestro gobierno en el extranjero cual buitres licenciados en sociología, alimentándose de la carroña que queda en el campo de batalla. Se posan durante unos meses o unos años, publican en casa discos con colaboraciones de famosillos para financiarse y luego levantan el vuelo en busca de más Humanismo con el que alimentarse.  

Will Self, “Dos fantasías para un tema visionario” en GRANTA en español, nº10


Pick up the phone before its too late
And dial my number. There’s no time to spare —
Love is already turning into hate
And very soon I’ll start to look elsewhere.

Good, old-fashioned men like you are rare —
You want to get to know me at a rate
That’s guaranteed to drive me to despair.
Pick up the phone before it is too late.

Well, wouldn’t it be nice to consummate
Our friendship while we’ve still got teeth and hair?
Just bear in mind that you are forty-eight
And dial my number. There’s no time to spare.

Another kamikaze love affair?
No chance. This time I’ll have to learn to wait
But one more day is more than I can bear —
Love is already turning into hate.

Of course, my friends say I exaggerate
And dramatize a lot. That may be fair
But it is no fun being in this state
And very soon I’ll start to look elsewhere.

I know you like me but I wouldn’t dare
Ring you again. Instead I’ll concentrate
On sending thought-waves through the London air
And, if they reach you, please don’t hesitate-
Pick up the phone.

Wendy Cope, “Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis”


if your neighbour disappears
O if your neighbour disappears
The quiet man who raked his lawn
The girl who always took the sun

Never mention it to your wife
Never say at dinner time
Whatever happened to that man
Who used to rake his lawn

Never say to your daughter
As you’re walking home from church
Funny thing about that girl
I haven’t seen her for a month

And if your son says to you
Nobody lives next door
They’ve all gone away
Send him to bed with no supper

Because it can spread, it can spread
And one fine evening coming home
Your wife and daughter and son
They’ll have caught the idea and will be gone

Leonard Cohen, “Let us Compare Mythologies”



The Japanese actor describes the Hiroshima smell.
His eyes are pearls
at the bottom of the sea.

The strangest smell is the smell of hatred in the air
between two people who once were friends.
It’s deeper than the sea and knows no bounds.

When she describes him now, she is describing
the smell of wrong. She banished that,
and hopes to live free and long.

Does she smell herself to see if her mind
will tell her she’s irresistible or unbearable?
Smell yourself and tell the air what you find.

‘There’s one perfume I love. It sets me free.
Let nobody ever ask me to change it.
It’s my smell, the smell I am, and will always be.’

‘Smells me,’ she whispers, ‘I’m like a mackerel
or maybe the salmon of knowledge.
Smell me. You’ll have a story to tell.’


Brendan Kennelly, “Now”.



So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

Raymond Carver.