Alphabet of Scratches

By NORMAN LOCK

 

from Alphabets of Desire & Sorrow: A Book of Imaginary Colophons

 

At St. Mary Bethlehem (which the world calls Bedlam), Jeremy Watt, shut up for insanity, discovered in a maze of scratches scribed by others’ lunatic hands an alphabet with which he might invoke things not apparent to the eye. So it was that on a late November afternoon while winter rehearsed in the soot and shadows of the ward, Watt alchemized the asylum into a Moorfields mews where—in a fusty upper-storey room—his wife, who had denounced him to the magistrate, was partnered in adultery with a pie man. Uttering an uncouth scratch of noise (unintelligible to the madhouse staff), Watt slaughtered her remorselessly with an airy dagger—
a perfect telepathic murder for which the pie man was condemned and hung.

 

 

Norman Lock has written novels and short fiction as well as stage, radio and screen plays.

Click here to purchase Issue 03

Alphabet of Scratches

Related Posts

Messy desk in an office

May 2024 Poetry Feature: Pissed-Off Ars Poetica Sonnet Crown

REBECCA FOUST
Fuck you, if I want to put a bomb in my poem / I’ll put a bomb there, & in the first line. / Granted, I might want a nice reverse neutron bomb / that kills only buildings while sparing our genome / but—unglue the whole status-quo thing, / the canon can-or-can’t do? 

Leila Chatti

My Sentimental Afternoon

LEILA CHATTI
Around me, the stubborn trees. Here / I was sad and not sad, I looked up / at a caravan of clouds. Will you ever / speak to me again, beyond / my nightly resurrections? My desire / displaces, is displaced. / The sun unrolls black shadows / which halve me. I stand.

picture of dog laying on the ground, taken by bfishadow in flickr

Call and Response

TREY MOODY
My grandmother likes to tell me dogs / understand everything you say, they just can’t / say anything back. We’re eating spaghetti / while I visit from far away. My grandmother / just turned ninety-four and tells me dogs / understand everything you say. / They just can’t say anything back.