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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Shadow vs The Goons

There’s no leaving the room when the radio ties us to father’s bedside table. The Goons and The Shadow fill the room with laughter and dread. I will laugh in my nightmares tonight, I will laugh as the Big Black Wheel chases me down the hill, gaining until I am wrapped in black shadows like priests’ wings, until ‘he fell in the water’. Laughter bubbles rise and my brother shakes me awake, Wake up! Wake up, you idiot! It’s all in the mind … Under the mantel radio on my father’s bedside table is a drawer, and in the drawer is a National Geographic, and in that National Geographic is a native woman in a forest setting, topless, shameless, well-thumbed. This is the BBC on the ABC Radio Network. Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of man? On the commercial station is the Craven ‘A’ Hit Parade – the cigarette tins with the black cat on the lid. Kitty, we have called her, Kitty smoke from Mother as she smokes, red lips laughing at the Goons’ gags. Laugh bubbles rise in the scotch’n’soda night as wings flap in my bed and the Big Wheel throws shadows.

Every day,
Every day,
Tell the hours
By their shadows,
By their shadows.

-          Arthur Crapsey

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