Thursday, June 11, 2009

The End of the Sign

Dear Wayfarer,

We here at the Sign of the Yellow Sphinx merely tell stories. It is your kind and game attempts to answer that make them into proper riddles.

The Sign of the Yellow Sphinx has, as promised, run for exactly a year with postings no less than every two weeks. Unfortunately, we seem to have left our curious dream detective sleeping on the case (you should comment or email me if you really like this story and find the situation intolerable). On the other hand, we did have more werewolves than expected and even a free comic book and trip to Mars.

Yet, as some of you well know, I awake to find myself in an even stranger and less believable city than before.

And yet, as I prostrated myself before the 999 levels of shopping mall in that jewel city, whose name is as long and as beautiful as a tourist brochure, กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตน์ราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์ and sat and meditated in the refreshing quiet of its food courts, I found myself again reflecting upon my life on Mars, my adventures with my Master and the Monster Poops I had seen.

And so, to give these recollections some form, I have seen it fit to start another blog, Naak Leuuap (นาค เหลือบ, the metallic blue Naga), which will contain these narratives and also provide true and accurate information about this remote and imaginary city as such would be useful to travelers.

Naak Leuuap นาค เหลือบ will be published over the course of my first year in Bangkok, after which I will be ordaining as a Buddhist monk, for a period to be determined by the unknown weight of my past lives.

And so, after our closing ceremonies here, I invite you to join me at my new fictitious home in another imaginary made up place: it would not be a home without you.

your most humble and grateful,

Van Choojitarom
เเวน ชูจิตารมย์


Estimating the size of the creature by comparison with the diameter of the large trees near which it passed–the few giants of the forest which had escaped the fury of the land-slide–I concluded it to be far larger than any ship of the line in existence. I say ship of the line, because the shape of the monster suggested the idea- the hull of one of our seventy-four might convey a very tolerable conception of the general outline. The mouth of the animal was situated at the extremity of a proboscis some sixty or seventy feet in length, and about as thick as the body of an ordinary elephant. Near the root of this trunk was an immense quantity of black shaggy hair- more than could have been supplied by the coats of a score of buffaloes; and projecting from this hair downwardly and laterally, sprang two gleaming tusks not unlike those of the wild boar, but of infinitely greater dimensions. Extending forward, parallel with the proboscis, and on each side of it, was a gigantic staff, thirty or forty feet in length, formed seemingly of pure crystal and in shape a perfect prism,–it reflected in the most gorgeous manner the rays of the declining sun. The trunk was fashioned like a wedge with the apex to the earth. From it there were outspread two pairs of wings- each wing nearly one hundred yards in length–one pair being placed above the other, and all thickly covered with metal scales; each scale apparently some ten or twelve feet in diameter. I observed that the upper and lower tiers of wings were connected by a strong chain. But the chief peculiarity of this horrible thing was the representation of a Death's Head, which covered nearly the whole surface of its breast, and which was as accurately traced in glaring white, upon the dark ground of the body, as if it had been there carefully designed by an artist. While I regarded the terrific animal, and more especially the appearance on its breast, with a feeling or horror and awe–with a sentiment of forthcoming evil, which I found it impossible to quell by any effort of the reason, I perceived the huge jaws at the extremity of the proboscis suddenly expand themselves, and from them there proceeded a sound so loud and so expressive of woe, that it struck upon my nerves like a knell and as the monster disappeared at the foot of the hill, I fell at once, fainting, to the floor.

-Edgar Allan Poe, "The Sphinx"

Confessions of the Yellow Sphinx

Daniel: I got that banner that you had carefully fixed the layout for and never used it.

Stacey: I started collaborative, online erotic story with you about edge play with extremely short people, and then, when it got too scary, let my roommate Tom finish it. Tom really liked writing the story with you. Then, when Tom got too scary, I moved out. You should not reply to any further emails or requests for contact, because I'm pretty sure Tom is now detained at her Majesty's leisure.

Majumba: I deleted all your racist comments.

Robert: There was no charity event. All the donuts went to me.

Brian: I don't bathe for a month and then I ask all the hookers to call me "King Brian."

Ady: I did actually find your bra

Margaret: I've strongly suspected you don't like oneiric detective stories

Aisha: That whole weird thing when I had the flu for a week and I wanted you to give hand jobs to strangers while you were on the bus and come back and tell me about it -I stole that from a Lars Von Trier movie. Seriously, you deserve so much better than me.

Loren: I pay extra to call the hookers "Loren."

Tom: I told you I would steal all your stories and become rich and famous. If you haven't guessed already, it was me. Now I'm in Bangkok to commit another series of horrific crimes against extremely short people and there is nothing you can do but read about it online at the prison library.

Stephen: I don't know how this happened, but your baby is mine. I know it.

"The Sphinx" by Oscar Wilde

As part of our closing ceremonies here At the Sign of the Yellow Sphinx, it is my pleasure to present to you a poem by my close personal friend, Oscar Wilde.

[lights down]

(To Marcel Schwob in friendship and in admiration)

In a dim corner of my room for longer than

my fancy thinks

A beautiful and silent Sphinx has watched me

through the shifting gloom.

Inviolate and immobile she does not rise she

does not stir

For silver moons are naught to her and naught

to her the suns that reel.

Red follows grey across the air, the waves of

moonlight ebb and flow

But with the Dawn she does not go and in the

night-time she is there.

Dawn follows Dawn and Nights grow old and

all the while this curious cat

Lies couching on the Chinese mat with eyes of

satin rimmed with gold.

Upon the mat she lies and leers and on the

tawny throat of her

Flutters the soft and silky fur or ripples to her

pointed ears.

Come forth, my lovely seneschal! so somnolent,

so statuesque!

Come forth you exquisite grotesque! half woman

and half animal!

Come forth my lovely languorous Sphinx! and

put your head upon my knee!

And let me stroke your throat and see your

body spotted like the Lynx!

And let me touch those curving claws of yellow

ivory and grasp

The tail that like a monstrous Asp coils round

your heavy velvet paws!

A thousand weary centuries are thine

while I have hardly seen

Some twenty summers cast their green for

Autumn's gaudy liveries.

But you can read the Hieroglyphs on the

great sandstone obelisks,

And you have talked with Basilisks, and you

have looked on Hippogriffs.

O tell me, were you standing by when Isis to

Osiris knelt?

And did you watch the Egyptian melt her union

for Antony

And drink the jewel-drunken wine and bend

her head in mimic awe

To see the huge proconsul draw the salted tunny

from the brine?

And did you mark the Cyprian kiss white Adon

on his catafalque?

And did you follow Amenalk, the God of


And did you talk with Thoth, and did you hear

the moon-horned Io weep?

And know the painted kings who sleep beneath

the wedge-shaped Pyramid?

Lift up your large black satin eyes which are

like cushions where one sinks!

Fawn at my feet, fantastic Sphinx! and sing me all your memories!

Sing to me of the Jewish maid who wandered

with the Holy Child,

And how you led them through the wild, and

how they slept beneath your shade.

Sing to me of that odorous green eve when

crouching by the marge

You heard from Adrian's gilded barge the

laughter of Antinous

And lapped the stream and fed your drouth and

watched with hot and hungry stare

The ivory body of that rare young slave with

his pomegranate mouth!

Sing to me of the Labyrinth in which the twi-

formed bull was stalled!

Sing to me of the night you crawled across the

temple's granite plinth

When through the purple corridors the screaming

scarlet Ibis flew

In terror, and a horrid dew dripped from the

moaning Mandragores,

And the great torpid crocodile within the tank

shed slimy tears,

And tare the jewels from his ears and staggered

back into the Nile,

And the priests cursed you with shrill psalms as

in your claws you seized their snake

And crept away with it to slake your passion by

the shuddering palms.

Who were your lovers? who were they

who wrestled for you in the dust?

Which was the vessel of your Lust? What

Leman had you, every day?

Did giant Lizards come and crouch before you

on the reedy banks?

Did Gryphons with great metal flanks leap on

you in your trampled couch?

Did monstrous hippopotami come sidling toward

you in the mist?

Did gilt-scaled dragons writhe and twist with

passion as you passed them by?

And from the brick-built Lycian tomb what

horrible Chimera came

With fearful heads and fearful flame to breed

new wonders from your womb?

Or had you shameful secret quests and did

you harry to your home

Some Nereid coiled in amber foam with curious

rock crystal breasts?

Or did you treading through the froth call to

the brown Sidonian

For tidings of Leviathan, Leviathan or


Or did you when the sun was set climb up the

cactus-covered slope

To meet your swarthy Ethiop whose body was

of polished jet?

Or did you while the earthen skiffs dropped

down the grey Nilotic flats

At twilight and the flickering bats flew round

the temple's triple glyphs

Steal to the border of the bar and swim across

the silent lake

And slink into the vault and make the Pyramid

your lupanar

Till from each black sarcophagus rose up the

painted swathed dead?

Or did you lure unto your bed the ivory-horned


Or did you love the god of flies who plagued

the Hebrews and was splashed

With wine unto the waist? or Pasht, who had

green beryls for her eyes?

Or that young god, the Tyrian, who was more

amorous than the dove

Of Ashtaroth? or did you love the god of the


Whose wings, like strange transparent talc, rose

high above his hawk-faced head,

Painted with silver and with red and ribbed with

rods of Oreichalch?

Or did huge Apis from his car leap down and

lay before your feet

Big blossoms of the honey-sweet and honey-

coloured nenuphar?

How subtle-secret is your smile! Did you

love none then? Nay, I know

Great Ammon was your bedfellow! He lay with

you beside the Nile!

The river-horses in the slime trumpeted when

they saw him come

Odorous with Syrian galbanum and smeared with

spikenard and with thyme.

He came along the river bank like some tall

galley argent-sailed,

He strode across the waters, mailed in beauty,

and the waters sank.

He strode across the desert sand: he reached

the valley where you lay:

He waited till the dawn of day: then touched

your black breasts with his hand.

You kissed his mouth with mouths of flame:

you made the horned god your own:

You stood behind him on his throne: you called

him by his secret name.

You whispered monstrous oracles into the

caverns of his ears:

With blood of goats and blood of steers you

taught him monstrous miracles.

White Ammon was your bedfellow! Your

chamber was the steaming Nile!

And with your curved archaic smile you watched

his passion come and go.

With Syrian oils his brows were bright:

and wide-spread as a tent at noon

His marble limbs made pale the moon and lent

the day a larger light.

His long hair was nine cubits' span and coloured

like that yellow gem

Which hidden in their garment's hem the

merchants bring from Kurdistan.

His face was as the must that lies upon a vat of

new-made wine:

The seas could not insapphirine the perfect azure

of his eyes.

His thick soft throat was white as milk and

threaded with thin veins of blue:

And curious pearls like frozen dew were

broidered on his flowing silk.

On pearl and porphyry pedestalled he was

too bright to look upon:

For on his ivory breast there shone the wondrous


That mystic moonlit jewel which some diver of

the Colchian caves

Had found beneath the blackening waves and

carried to the Colchian witch.

Before his gilded galiot ran naked vine-wreathed


And lines of swaying elephants knelt down to

draw his chariot,

And lines of swarthy Nubians bare up his litter

as he rode

Down the great granite-paven road between the

nodding peacock-fans.

The merchants brought him steatite from Sidon

in their painted ships:

The meanest cup that touched his lips was

fashioned from a chrysolite.

The merchants brought him cedar chests of rich

apparel bound with cords:

His train was borne by Memphian lords: young

kings were glad to be his guests.

Ten hundred shaven priests did bow to Ammon's

altar day and night,

Ten hundred lamps did wave their light through

Ammon's carven house--and now

Foul snake and speckled adder with their young

ones crawl from stone to stone

For ruined is the house and prone the great

rose-marble monolith!

Wild ass or trotting jackal comes and couches

in the mouldering gates:

Wild satyrs call unto their mates across the

fallen fluted drums.

And on the summit of the pile the blue-faced

ape of Horus sits

And gibbers while the fig-tree splits the pillars

of the peristyle

The god is scattered here and there: deep

hidden in the windy sand

I saw his giant granite hand still clenched in

impotent despair.

And many a wandering caravan of stately

negroes silken-shawled,

Crossing the desert, halts appalled before the

neck that none can span.

And many a bearded Bedouin draws back his

yellow-striped burnous

To gaze upon the Titan thews of him who was

thy paladin.

Go, seek his fragments on the moor and

wash them in the evening dew,

And from their pieces make anew thy mutilated


Go, seek them where they lie alone and from

their broken pieces make

Thy bruised bedfellow! And wake mad passions

in the senseless stone!

Charm his dull ear with Syrian hymns! he loved

your body! oh, be kind,

Pour spikenard on his hair, and wind soft rolls

of linen round his limbs!

Wind round his head the figured coins! stain

with red fruits those pallid lips!

Weave purple for his shrunken hips! and purple

for his barren loins!

Away to Egypt! Have no fear. Only one

God has ever died.

Only one God has let His side be wounded by a

soldier's spear.

But these, thy lovers, are not dead. Still by the

hundred-cubit gate

Dog-faced Anubis sits in state with lotus-lilies

for thy head.

Still from his chair of porphyry gaunt Memnon

strains his lidless eyes

Across the empty land, and cries each yellow

morning unto thee.

And Nilus with his broken horn lies in his black

and oozy bed

And till thy coming will not spread his waters on

the withering corn.

Your lovers are not dead, I know. They will

rise up and hear your voice

And clash their cymbals and rejoice and run to

kiss your mouth! And so,

Set wings upon your argosies! Set horses to

your ebon car!

Back to your Nile! Or if you are grown sick of

dead divinities

Follow some roving lion's spoor across the copper-

coloured plain,

Reach out and hale him by the mane and bid

him be your paramour!

Couch by his side upon the grass and set your

white teeth in his throat

And when you hear his dying note lash your

long flanks of polished brass

And take a tiger for your mate, whose amber

sides are flecked with black,

And ride upon his gilded back in triumph

through the Theban gate,

And toy with him in amorous jests, and when

he turns, and snarls, and gnaws,

O smite him with your jasper claws! and bruise

him with your agate breasts!

Why are you tarrying? Get hence! I

weary of your sullen ways,

I weary of your steadfast gaze, your somnolent


Your horrible and heavy breath makes the light

flicker in the lamp,

And on my brow I feel the damp and dreadful

dews of night and death.

Your eyes are like fantastic moons that shiver

in some stagnant lake,

Your tongue is like a scarlet snake that dances

to fantastic tunes,

Your pulse makes poisonous melodies, and your

black throat is like the hole

Left by some torch or burning coal on Saracenic


Away! The sulphur-coloured stars are hurrying

through the Western gate!

Away! Or it may be too late to climb their silent

silver cars!

See, the dawn shivers round the grey gilt-dialled

towers, and the rain

Streams down each diamonded pane and blurs

with tears the wannish day.

What snake-tressed fury fresh from Hell, with

uncouth gestures and unclean,

Stole from the poppy-drowsy queen and led you

to a student's cell?

What songless tongueless ghost of sin crept

through the curtains of the night,

And saw my taper burning bright, and knocked,

and bade you enter in?

Are there not others more accursed, whiter with

leprosies than I?

Are Abana and Pharphar dry that you come here

to slake your thirst?

Get hence, you loathsome mystery! Hideous

animal, get hence!

You wake in me each bestial sense, you make me

what I would not be.

You make my creed a barren sham, you wake

foul dreams of sensual life,

And Atys with his blood-stained knife were

better than the thing I am.

False Sphinx! False Sphinx! By reedy Styx

old Charon, leaning on his oar,

Waits for my coin. Go thou before, and leave

me to my crucifix,

Whose pallid burden, sick with pain, watches

the world with wearied eyes,

And weeps for every soul that dies, and weeps

for every soul in vain.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spring 2009

The deputy was a rookie and got jumped. He got grief for that and the bite got infected. There were a string of killings, someone with a dog or a wolf. They got worse. He had problems with anger at work. One night, he spots the girl who jumped him. She explained that they had come in the winter from Chicago. But he had gotten HIV. Now he was just killing. The pack tried to stop him; he killed them. She needed him. When they tracked him, he was thin, thin and sick. She didn’t cry. He quit the department.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Winter 2008

Jack came back chewed up, nearly dead. The others died. He meant it this time. He was always at Father Jonathan’s side now, helping out. Patti had started using again, so it was no surprise she vanished, but then they found her. They said it was a pack of dogs. Somebody killed Robbie and Consuela, too, and dogs must have come after. John went on the news about the shelter. The story went national. Jack organized the whole thing, helping to raise millions. Father Jonathan never stopped praying for Jack, but could not stop him. The shelter closed that spring.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Late Fall 2008

It was fucked up. We were fucked up a lot. She had a lot of old connections: I remembered Jack from the clinic. Things got really rough and we had to leave. We agreed to cut down. At least stop biting people. We rented with my last savings. She was out a lot. I had the internet. I thought we were straight, but in the trunk of the car she had kept their wallets and jewelry. She didn’t want to fuck me before she left. When the police came, I realized I hadn’t changed. I was just a naked loser.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fall 2008

You had to watch her and not just the cutting. She was hard to believe, but what had happened to her was unbelievable. What I really wanted was to save her. I got reported. I came back. I busted her out. I am still glad I did that. We went south in a car with hot air and spilled beer. She was covered with scratches. I could not get her off me. I woke up bruised with a crust of blood. She licked her snout and padded over. She licked my wounds. I held her until it was dark again.

(The autumn previous to this summer)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Martian Language and Culture: An Introduction

Martian has 216 forms of “spoken” “punctuation”, all of which appear to be represented by sharp kicks; only an experienced Martian speaker can tell the difference: the beginning and intermediate student has to be content with asking the Martian to repeat himself and paying close attention to the reply. Functionally, each form of punctuation appears to be roughly equivalent to either the comma or the semicolon, or the expression “and another thing that gets me is…”

Some have argued that the Martians have no language proper, but rather "a string of endless random signs interrupted by abrupt punching and running away."

The actual rules of Martian (as much as can be inferred) seem to vary greatly depending on who is speaking, who is being spoken to, what is being talked about, whether the speaker likes talking about it, etc... Each Martian effectively has its own idiolect, which changes daily. A further complication is that it is considered rude for one's actions or behavior to have any relation to one's language. The only certain constant is the punching or kicking for which the Martians have 7,653 synonyms; a Martian sentence is not really considered complete unless it has about 30 of them

The most popular human cultural product for Martians is Garfield: this is because Garfield the cat closely resembles a character from their classical pre-drought literature. Martian “Garfield” is not a cat, but a malign demon that lives inside Martian “Jon Arbuckle's” primary non-ruminant stomach. Like Garfield the cat, however, Martian Garfield is malicious, selfish and cruel, primarily concerned with eating, sleeping, insulting Jon and defecating inside of him.

The only notable point of difference it that these actions eventually drive Martian Jon Arbuckle to acts of incest, cannibalism and murder, (though the order varies by strip).

Hence the t-shirt now popular among humans:

Garfield shits inside me

[This is here transcribed using XIPA Method I, the arrows indicating roughly the kind, angle and intensity of the kicks.]

Martian Romances

Martian romances are basically tales of disenchantment. Almost every Martian Love Epic has a scene after the couple first realizes their great love for one another where they meet a recurring stock character, an old hermit that describes, in exhaustive detail, the challenges the pair are to face and the adventure ahead, culminating in a dire warning. Everything the hermit says is, without exception, completely wrong and does not happen. Scholars believe this character was invented to insure the story was properly disappointing and to prevent people from interrupting.

The couple then embarks on a heroic journey together which is invariably longer and less interesting than the couple had anticipated. All that follows is all falling, accreting action, in the form of complaints, veiled criticisms and long, drawn out arguments, which form the heart of the Martian romance, as captured in this justly famous line,

''At first you were interesting. At the first time, of you, this report: more interesting

Today speaking
I view other [mental content] time of your communicating from time of period of consciousness beginning
sleep following"

These “grievance duets” expand in intensity and frequency, for the remainder of the romance, sustained entirely by the couple, with the exception of the occasional passer-by who is dragged in:

Why are you doing this
To me? If I could burn you, by [ejecting] my [spleen-head] [off] setting it on fire
On the sacred mountain
And hitting you with it
I would.
I only work here.

This last line, being one of the most famous in Martian Literature.

In any case, the frequency, intensity and personal criticism of the exchanges grows and grows, until they express clearly the mutual desire that the other is dead. This typically leads to a tender scene in the fourteenth or twenty-second act where one of the couple, typically through a series of reversals and annoyances, discovers the other and believes them to be dead, whereupon they express their relief and gratitude in a gentle aria of soaring hope and violent ill-treatment of the beloved’s “corpse.” The “resurrection” of the dead partner generally causes dismay and complaint. This “Romeo and Juliette” plot mechanism is a favorite of Martian romances and will often be featured in them up to five or six times in the same given romance.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Celebrity on the ≤ 10 -6 Scale

The International System of Units/Système International d’Unités Official Guide to Celebrity on the ≤ 10-6 Scale

11th Annual Celebrity Metrology Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada

Person in front of you at Open Mic Night/last guy to leave drumming circle/has-been from Sheila Bishop’s Cabaret


Hey, you brought donuts!


Man, some asshole is eating all the donuts.

Name published in the well-read journal The Yellow Pages


Name published in the less well-read White Pages


Yes, that would be you on your driver’s license.


Theoretical lowest values for celebrity. One or more of the following minimally apply:

• Can recognize own self in mirror, or
• Corpse can be identified by mother
• Are minimally distinct by Leibniz’s Law

Monday, March 16, 2009

Things I have Invented, How Brilliant They Are, Why the World Continues to Ignore Them

Trans Siberian Minimalist Post Goth

What is it?
Goth music, without all the distracting changes and “music” and with the addition of “wolves."

How Brilliant Is It?

Totally brilliant.

Why the World Continues to Ignore It
Not enough wolves.

Talky Pop

What is it?
Talking Popcorn Bucket. Asks “who is that?” “where is he going?” “Isn’t he really Superman?” Reminds viewer of product tie-ins, cracks wise, answers cell phone

How Brilliant Is It?
Not really all that brilliant

Why the World Continues to Ignore It
No popcorn bucket, however sophisticated, can replace Grandma

Steinman Power 7 Artificial Heart

What is it?
Artificial Heart That Plays “Total Eclipse of the Heart”

How Brilliant Is It?
Merely clever

Why the World Continues to Ignore It
All things considered, not a very good song or artificial heart.

Mace Lite and Mace Jr.

What is it?
Personal defense without all that stinging harshness. When you want to incapacitate someone …but not all that much. Comes in different scents: Jalapeño, Habanero, Summer Breeze, Holiday Potpourri and Traditional Mace

How Brilliant Is It?

Why the World Continues to Ignore It
Never went beyond development: people sampling Mace Lite and Mace Jr. could not tell the difference from regular mace; also complained of not being asked if they wished to sample Mace Lite and Mace Jr. and “blindness.”

The Erotic Chess Story

What is it?
The most erotic and intellectually stimulating thing ever.

How Brilliant Is It?
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Why the World Continues to Ignore It
Mankind apparently not ready for golden age of ultimate entertainment.