(and previously unpublished)
Collective surrealist text
By : George Kalamaras and John Bradley
over the character of Miguel Carablanca, written collaboratively in the vein of Andre Breton and Philipe Soupault.
An Involuntary Inventory of a Trunk Marked “MC”
1. One toilet seat, signed by Rrose Sélavy.
3. A spot of hyena blood. A piece of gauze containing snail droppings.
- Partial list of Parisians to be guillotined in 1794. Paper bears teeth marks and salival residue, possibly of Charles Hippolyte Labussière, who allegedly hid the list in his mouth, thus saving those on the list.
- Clouds I Have Known: A Scientific Field Study. Bound journal, armadillo hide, 1193 pages, handwritten. Each entry gives date, time, location, temperature, altitude, and observer’s pulse rate. Each report includes texture, shape, weight, smell, taste, gender, and mortality of cloud. Last entry reads: “I have wasted my life.”
9. Ten loose beads—triangular (green), square (red), and circular (blue) beads. See 129 or 921.
(Backwards 9). Small jar, inside of which is a piece of paper containing, in backward-leaning handwriting, only the word “Please.”
11. Replica of Belém, Brazil, made from Theodore Roosevelt’s cuspidor.
- Letter (wrapped in reindeer hide) from Vladimir Zenzinov, in exile, from Russkoye Ustye, in which he describes an ancient custom of the Chukchi—the killing of their old and sick, at the request of the old and sick themselves. “The Chukchi,” Zenzinov writes at one point, “believe in a future life only for those who meet a violent death.” Then in the margins, in Carablanca’s hand, “Pour candle wax into my left ear at midnight.”
- Photo of Brahms as a lowest class “sweeper” near the river Ganges, with a note, Dr. Mr. Carablanca, I am NOT a Brahmin!
19 (or 17 with a smudge?). Collection of recipes for eggnog, each made with “the holy secretions of monkfish.”
- A piece of paper with nothing on it but the number “19” drawn on it 19 times.
- Three stones: the one Thoreau removed from his Walden cabin, an Ouse River stone removed from the coat pocket of Virginia Woolf, and the last unspecified. The label cannot be located.
- Armadillo bladder used as water bag by Gauchos in Paraguay during ring lancing contests.
28. Collection of “bird-specimen saliva,” with vials containing saliva, labeled as the following: North African guinea fowl; northern flat-nosed phalarope (tundra sparrow); dunlin (from the
Crimea); black turnstones; unidentified species of water hen; “psychic” sparrow from Borneo; and “anomolous” (embryonic fluid from crane egg).
- Unicorn horn, measuring 14.2 inches (if measured with rolling ruler). Traces of Parmesan cheese and paprika found on surface of horn.
- Sixteen toenail clippings from eight different Bolivian dwarf armadillos.
37. Ouch! Stop that immediately! written in dry mark on plaster cast of someone’s left hand.
- Metal cube, two inches square, that can open into a fifty-foot ladder. Mechanical pencil that can also be used as a shortwave radio and a toaster. Necktie that can be unraveled into chamberpot, bird nest, or device for listening to tectonic plate shifts.
- A copy of Conrad Gesner’s sixteenth century Bibliotheca Universalis and a copy of his Historia Animalium, containing only every other page, the other carefully cut out to almost be undetectable.
- One 78 rpm, ten inch, Van Gogh’s Ear label, Karablanca and the Karmanauts. Side one: “The Night Is One Part Heartbeat, Two Parts Termite, and Ninety-Nine Per Cent Hammer and Anvil Orchestra.” Side two: “(Hannibal’s Elephant Must Have Had a Bad Case of the) Hannibal’s Elephant Blues.”
- Proposed cover art for Carablanca’s unfinished manuscript, This Is It.
54. Chair leg clutched by Anais Nin as she chased Henry Miller through the streets of Paris yelling, “I sleep with all my teeth awake!”
69. “Legendary Portrait of Meret Oppenheim,” the brass plate at the bottom of the portrait proclaims. Constructed of cowry shells, movie ticket stubs, and fox fur. Scrawled across the back of the portrait (in an unknown hand): “Or could this be Cara?”
72. A series of drawings of the human navel. Some “innies,” some “outies.” Then in childlike script beneath the final in the series, a quote from below one of Gene Hoffman’s lithographs, “Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?”
74. Egg tooth from baby born in Kiev. Reel of tape (garbled) of interview with midwife/shaman to determine if baby was born in caul or egg. Nine nesting eggs: wood, steel, glass, paper, vinyl, ceramic, marble, ice, and whale bone.
77. Tuft of bison hair, smelling of prairie grass, tobacco, and gunpowder. Tiny beads have been woven into the hair—round, square, and triangular. If the bison hair is inhaled, and the inhaler turns and faces each of the four directions, Custer can be heard saying, “I am no friend of the moon, nor is it a friend of mine, but then you already knew that.”
79. Skeletal structure fusing a platypus, a barn owl, and a slow loris. (Similar to artifact once displayed in the Oslo Museum of Natural History, which melded an alligator, an impala, and a condor. Nazis often pointed to this “monster” as evidence of the “dangers of cross breeding” between the races.)
83. Walnut shell with “DO NOT OPEN!” engraved along the seam.
86. Letter (of rejection?) from Faber and Faber, signed by T. S. Eliot. Only one typed sentence long, the letter reads: “We prefer our poets keep their poetics firmly tucked in their trousers.”
96. Cigar box full of tapeworms (at least 33 and 1/3). Small note inside reads: “Dear Mr. C, We cannot print your book on ‘tapeworm paper.’ We cannot and will not.” Initialed (unreadable).
- Piece of child’s green construction paper, with nothing written on it and containing no drawings or other identifiable information.
- Elephant droppings wrapped inside the droppings of a pasturage of geese wrapped inside the excretions of bees, dried and laid flat into six sheets of water-buffalo jerky. Next to it, on the label of a small empty vial, in Carablanca’s hand, “This is the sixth finch of the seventh galaxy.”
100. Small replica of Vallejo’s jejunum, next to anatomical drawing of Cesaire’s cloaca.
115. Monkfish stuffed with Muttonfish stuffed with small pieces of twine from the bark of a willow. Index card reading, “This is where aspirin comes from. Here, be my headache!”
115F. A small ceramic jar, with a piece of wire connected to a tag, which reads (in a faded brown ink): “Freud’s urine as antidote for lice dream.”
- Three commemorative coins, minted on the Ionian island of Cephalonia, honoring three Greek Surrealist poets: Nikos Engonopolous, Miltos Sachtouris, and Takis Sinopoulos.
- Crushed wings of African Goliath Beetle.
131. Bound book, iridescent green cover, with 259 blank pages. Title offers this promise: Book Whose Print Will Appear Legible Once Every Lunar Cycle for Twenty-Eight Seconds If Opened Directly Under Full Moon.
151. Ticket stub for Django Reinhardt, and Miguel Karablanca and the Eskaped Kaptives of Kronos, at the Van Gogh’s Blues Club, Amsterdam, Australia.
170. Cigar box of rubber bands marked, “condoms.”
210. According to title, Instructions for How to Build a Child’s Playpen. Nowhere in instructions, however, are playpen or any of its elements mentioned. If followed, instructions appear to describe the proper method of washing a cat.
215. A collection of “great sufferings”: recent news from Moscow arriving six months late, the untimely thawing of the Indirika River, copper tea kettle without a lid, hens’ teeth in the mouth of a rat, a photo of the way she looks at the one who loves her—with no love at all.
222. A pre-publication copy of Ivan Blatney’s manuscript, Bixley Remedial School, written in four languages, with a note: “Dear Dr. Carablanca, though we have never met, please re-mediate into the language of the left big toe. Heal thyself, oh great doctor of cosmological lice, and lay the milky eggs of moths into your own left cheek.” On the envelope, Blatney’s return address, St. Clement’s Hospital, England.
239. Index torn from an early edition of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of the Species. Some of the letters in the index are circled in green ink. If assembled they read: “Armor or Amour.” This same phrase is repeated in the Index (with circled letters) thirty-two times.
282. Copy of letter to Johannes Brahms, in which Carablanca asks how Brahms just knew to place the most miniscule movements of sea-lice into the second movement of the Piano Concerto # 1.
290. Letter from Duncan Pyle, during years he had “disappeared” in the Arctic, “I will be with you now, and always, even through the guts of the earth.”
- Pygmy mole cricket mask. Made from black leather (Guardia Civil) boots. Watch face with no hands inserted into right eye.
- Cover (only) of Georges Bataille’s Story of the Eye.
- Used teabag from the Czar and Czarina of Russia, with congratulatory note on Carablanca’s new book. Scribblings of Carablanca indicate he wanted to enmesh in future “teabags” the “inky blue blood of squids” in order to “write our insides right,” though the translation is unclear regarding the idiom.
299 + Cigar Wrapper – Parrot. A collection of vials of air, labeled from places Carablanca visited: Borneo; Tasmania; the Siberian taiga; Carpathian Mountains; the Belgian Congo; French Equatorial Africa; Paraguay; the Crimea; Ames, Iowa. Also, various vials containing the “breath of poets” Carablanca collected during certain encounters, labeled: “René Daumal,” “L.S. Senghor,” “the asylum orderly who saved Ivan Blatney’s discarded manuscripts,” “cell air just moments after the death of Miguel Hernández,” “Andreas Embirikos,” “Nishiwaki Junzaburo’s wet nurse,” “card shuffle air during poker game with Nikos Gatsos,” “Carl Sandburg (and smog),” and “air shiver across town from the quiver of Meret Oppenheim’s pubic hair during orgasm.”
- Bag of Chinese White Fur Silver Needle Tea, labeled, Wang Wei’s toenails.
318. Postcard of arctic wolf pup, licking a caribou skull, underneath which is inscribed, My dear Carablanca, come see me at the asylum. As ever, Dino Campana.
333. Pressed magnolia blossoms sent to Carablanca by founder, Hirstsuka Raicho, and other associates of the first Japanese feminist journal, Bluestocking. Accompanied by note “of great importance” in which nothing is said but summaries of winter weather in Iwate Prefecture.
326. Sheet music for “Movement in Which No One Moves Until Everyone Does,” an orchestral piece for pedestrians, traffic, street, and weather. Instead of musical notes, the composer drew crows on the lines.
- Scrap of a Dead Sea Scroll: “ . . . and Jesus said, ‘Salt well thy ’“
- A vial of Australian box jellyfish venom. On label: “Good for inducing state of near death. Keep tongue [unreadable]. Vision of tentacles lasts several days.”
349. Eyebrow hair of Frida Kahlo, inside plain white business envelope. On outside of envelope, someone typed: “WARNING. KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE AND DO NOT STORE UNDER PRESSURE. IF SWALLOWED, CONTACT DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY.”
379. An inventory of size, shape, and “calcium employment” (?) of human toenail clippings.
425. Blueprint of a “Sleep Distillery, As Commissioned by Henry Ford.” At the top, the following items fall into the distillery: coal, pickles, a copy of Cathay, a pope’s miter, the word “tintinnabulation,” seven tears from a white rhino, tsetse flies, a WWI gas mask, a woman’s silk stocking, a typewriter, a blindfold, sticks of black licorice, ginger, and a sack of bunions. Into a vat at the other end of the distillery, the essence of sleep drips. Several dead rodents (mice? rats?) have perished around the vat of toxic sleep.
458. Small slip of paper: “If you can read this, burn the contents of this trunk. If you cannot read this, burning burnt burn the contents of this trunk.”
532a. and b. Photograph of pale bare foot, with piano keys for toes. On back of photo is hand- printed: ”Sock I wore when she removed her Oh sock she wore.” Found inside large black sock.
536. Bullet that struck George Orwell in the neck during the Spanish Civil War. Stored in a baby food jar. Sighted during the preliminary survey of trunk contents, but now missing. Possibly dangerous.
562. Manuscript (typed on Hotel Babel stationery) of “uncollected and lost” poems by Federico García Lorca: “Alba,” “Ballad of the Dead Woodcutter,” “Ballad of the Seven Passages,” “Ballad of Sleeping Somewhere Else,” “Ballad of the Surrealist’s Daughter,” “Buster Keaton Rides Again: A Sequel,” “Lament for the Death of Billy the Kid,” “Ode for the Butterfly Larva on Cara’s Nose,” “Radar,” and “Radioactive Gacela.”
666. Forgery of Caravaggio’s “Medusa,” signed by Dalí on back of canvas (rolled and tied by broken brown shoelace). The signature appears to be authentic and suggests that Dalí owned the forged canvas at one point. (If he did, why would he sign a forgery, especially such a blatant one? See the faint dollar signs in the eyes of the Medusa, the feral green eyes deep in her mouth.
Most likely another painter posing as Dalí—perhaps to embarrass him—painted the forged Caravaggio. But why would Dalí sign it?)
667. Signed copy of Kawabata Yasunari’s Snow Country. Following signed title page, all pages cut out into book safe, containing earthworm excretions, labeled as “the inky blue blood of squids.”
721. Box of Carablanca Cough Drops, lemon-rum flavored, made in Auckland, New Zealand. On back of box, under a barrel of rum with a bee hive resting on top of it, the text reads: “For Adult, Childish, and Infantile Coughs.”
853. Pearl-handled black umbrella, with crescent shapes cut out of the fabric. “Cara” has been carved into the handle. (One of two or three surviving Moonbrellas, which Cara Carablanca invented to screen out “harmful cosmic rays.” Edith Piaf, Gandhi, and Walt Disney, among others, were all seen with a Moonbrella.)
861. Rejection letter from New Directions for a proposed bilingual Collected and Uncollected Carablanca. The letter gives the usual “does not suit our interests at this time,” except for one sentence: “At any rate, we do not feel comfortable publishing poems composed of organic material from reptiles and crustaceans, nor do we foresee any time in the future at which we would feel so inclined.”
862. The phrase, How dare you suck on moth eggs while drinking the dried blood of snow- geese!, written in columns, translated into eleven languages, each recorded by date in reverse chronological order.
882. Yet another reference to “The sixth finch of the seventh galaxy.”
999. A copy of Charles Darwin’s final work, The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms. Inside it, tiny gatherings of teeth, chest hair, and a photograph of Carablanca’s left big toe, around which is a tag reading: “Evolution is overrated. Turn to the earth, turn to the earth. The Earthworm knows.”
1004. Large slip of paper: “If you can read this, DO NOT burn the contents of this trunk. If you cannot read this, NO burnt burn burning the contents of this trunk.”
1112. Glass face mask, with slightly stained lip (lower lip, inside the mask. Evidence of black raspberry preserves). Taped to forehead, a warning that reads: “Use only in case of invisibility.”
(Shoes That Lisp)
Where I feed you, Cara, small, broken pieces of Miguel.
To clarify one’s sleep with the careful kerosene of the brain. To sleep with a comma clutched in your throbbing hand.
Once there was a moth entered his left ear as if again and again. Always leave one sleeve for the unwanted guest.
What was meant by that was that tortoise eggs in the Sahara were more like broken pieces of
here, drink this cloud.
All I ever wanted was rain, thought Carablanca into the humorless sleep of Chaplin, into the tough tissue of the baby tortoise about to embark eighty years in an archipelago of wandering.
Where I feed you, Cara, small, broken pieces.
To color the edge of the world with a struck matchstick.
There is the fake Van Gogh, the phony note uncovered in an attic in Brahms, Tanzania. Salt, that is, emerging from Carablanca’s pores.
So many toads, a Galapagos tortoise shell, suddened with cracked lightning. Say and say so, said and see-sawed, my dearest salt-sucker.
All too possible, says the Book of Impossibility. So, the shoes move us a little closer.
To hammer a hole in the ceiling and call it the sun.
Once, through carapace, once, through cumulus, thrice, in armpit’s cicatrix. Did, the tall family, the tufted family, the family of turf and towel.
You, not silence nor sister, sifter of silent spores.
What was meant by this is that the wetnurses never suddened the sand. Let’s be clear: there are many ways to be fraudulent.
Dear impossible rain, he spat sideways into the ever-wettening dark. Here is where I go to feed you, clouds, small, broken pieces of earth. Not mine, yours.
And so, his reading of Georges Bataille.
Cicatrix, cicatrix, cicatrix, cried the crows of euphoria.
In the rushes, I hear the book crying in the breadbox that floated from Goya, Minnesota. In the rushes, I hear the book crying.
The Mona Lisa. Without a mouth to smile with. Or with which to deliver the kiss of depth.
Afterwards I slipped off my outer body and left it standing in line to see Charlie Chaplin seduce Charlie Chaplin by pretending to be Charlie Chaplin.
Four monks, four monks, muttered Van Gogh, over and again into the tip of his brush. So, the shoes move us a little closer.
What was meant by that was that tortoise eggs in the Sahara were more like broken pieces of here, drink this cloud.
All too possible, says the Book of Impossibility.
The shoes moved, the shoes moved you, the shoes move us a little closer.