Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fragment No. 2

Dread Cthulhu, nameless terror from beyond the stars, knew he was in trouble. He had no way to hide what he had done, no way to cover over the awful reality. Nyarlathotep and Shub-Niggurath would be peeved, no doubt, but Azathoth ...

The tentacled Great Old One, who until very recently had lain dead and dreaming at sunken R'lyeh, shuddered at the thought. It wasn’t his fault, really. I mean, what else could you expect after a couple of strange eons under the sea? But he had to do something. A note -- that was it! A preemptive apology might help.

Dread Cthulhu, nameless terror from beyond the stars, dug up a scrap of paper and a pen and began to write ...

I have consumed utterly
the humans
that were in
the pit of madness and cosmic despair

and which
you were probably
saving
for tea

Forgive me
they were delicious
so salty
and so warm

21 comments:

B. Nagel said...

Whoa. I think ole HP just peed his pants: The Old Ones don't write poetry! Even if they did, it would be of such tremendous import and terrible geometry that our weak and feeble human minds would shatter!

Thanks for the chuckle.

Loren Eaton said...

But the Great Old Ones do like to poke fun at William Carlos Williams ...

Samuel D. Smith said...

That is what it's all about.

Loren Eaton said...

You know it, SD. You know it ...

Tony said...

Great post. This reminded me of one of Lovecraft's short stories entitled "Dagon." Except that it didn't end with "Quickly, the window!" and a maniacal suicide, luckily.

Loren Eaton said...

Hey, I remember that one! It had one of his creepier endings. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. Shivers ...

B. Nagel said...

If you get the the opportunity to watch the movie Dagon (which is actually "Shadow Over Innsmouth") on the Sci-Fi channel, don't. Don't even tivo it. Just walk away.

If you're in a Spanish horror-fantasy mood, watch Pan's Labyrinth instead.

Loren Eaton said...

I've been interested in Pan's Labyrinth for a while, but have held back because I heard the torture scenes were really intense. Torture and me don't get along. On a variety of levels.

B. Nagel said...

The cinematography is wonderful. The composition is beautiful. The costuming/sfx/puppeteering is/are all mind-blowing. The violence is graphic. The problem is that in most costume-based horror films, you can tell that it's a mock-up. del Toro doesn't really give you that option in Labyrinth. Everything is weird and tuned differently, but it all feels real, feels like it could happen.
Did I mention it's eye-candy?

If you want a feel for the film w/o the sadism and torture, watch Hellboy 2. The costuming is similar and the color palette is almost the same. It's not the same kind of faerie tale though.

Loren Eaton said...

It looked like eye candy from the preview. If I do decide to take the plunge, it'll probably have to be when the wife is visiting the in-laws. She wouldn't like it at all, I think.

ollwen said...

Brilliant, man! If I had been familiar with Willaims I would have laughed out loud. I don't have much appreciate for

prose on several
lines
for no apparent
reason
Poetry.

On Pan's Labyrinth. . . I took a girl to see it. Our only movie date ever. The fairy stuff is a smaller part of the movie, and most of it's horrors are implied. The real-life, horribly strong and cunning, Hitler-esque villain was terribly frightening because he was so real-life. I don't remember much for scenes of torture though. . . mostly just punctuated scenes of horribly brutal (non-fairy) violence. He is a brilliantly written villain though. . . which is part of what makes him so terrifying.

I didn't see Hellboy II. I appreciate the detail and artistry of Del Torro's visual direction, but not the tone imbued by his (nigh worshipful) love for the Gothic and Macabre.

Loren Eaton said...

Thanks! I like William Carlos Williams, particularly "Marriage," "The Young Housewife" and "Tract." But for the life of me, I cannot understand how "This Is Just To Say" became one for the history books.

Part of what makes me hesitate about Pan's Labyrinth is a scene someone told me about where the bad guy shoots a political dissident in the head at point-blank range. Subjective responses to graphic violence are just that, but for me that would probably keep me up nights. I still recall in vivid detail one similar shot in A History of Violence. Yuck.

ollwen said...

Yeah. . . the first scene of character-establishing violence for the main villain, is to me, a lot worse than the one you mentioned. As excellent as the movie was in writing film-making craft, I can't really call it a "good movie," and given what you just said, I can recommend you continue your safe distance.

A History of Violence was similar in its darkness and lack of moral light at the end of the tunnel.

At least with Lovecraft if it gets too creepy for you, you can just let yourself slip into amusement at the over-the-top camp.

Loren Eaton said...

A History of Violence could have been great, but it just sort of fizzled out at the end. Stories with that level of, whatdoyacallit, explicitness need a strong, counterbalancing theme. It didn't quite nail it.

Lovecraft is just fun! Nothing like curling up with "The Cats of Ulthar" on a rainy day.

Chestertonian Rambler said...

Hillarious--doesn't look like a fragment of something, so much as a piece of rather amusing flash fic.

I loved Pan's Labyrinth, but am pretty desensitized to violence. Strangely, it feels far less violent the second time--most of its scenes of violence and torture are more painful for what you fear they might show than for what they actually show. (That is, I was constantly wondering how much torture they will show, how graphic they will be, and the result is some rather disturbing cinema even if the scene cuts away from the blood.)

The film has a pretty strong theme, though the ending is somewhat morally ambiguous. Namely, the question is left open whether Ofelia's imagined fairy tale of justice and love is a viable alternative to the horrors of WWII Spain. I think I heard someone once described the director as running so far away from his childhood Catholicism that he came around the world and returned to its themes. Pan's Labyrinth could make a good case for this.

And yes, the end of *any* battle in the film involves the winners shooting the losers in the face--whether they are heroes or villains. Apparently, that is the Spanish way to end a fight.

Loren Eaton said...

Gee, thanks! I never thought people would get such a kick out of it. I also have no idea where it came from since I haven't been reading Lovecraft or William Carlos Williams.

I probably feel the same way about Pan's Labyrinth as I do about Sweeny Todd -- completely fascinated by the idea, but hesitant to take the plunge. Ditto for Tim Burton's Big Fish, although for completely different reasons. Too much familial suffering over the past few years to give that one a go.

Remind me never to start a fight in Spain. My head's hard, but not that hard.

B. Nagel said...

I'd recommend Sweeny Todd before Pan. The blood in Todd is much less realistic, plus there's singing. Storywise, I'd have to say that Sondheim is as much a nihilist as Lovecraft, whereas del Toro toys with, as CR states above, "morally ambiguous" endings.

B. Nagel said...

@ ollwen
Enjambment is all about making your reader pay attention to flow and meaning
and pacing. It's easy to skip a word and follow the meaning in a 4000 word story, but when you're dealing with less than 200 words you have to help your reader see your meaning in every single word as much as possible.

Wheelbarrow and Just to Say are extreme examples that I find annoying, but that's b/c, IMO, the technique has been overused. Not every
word can
be magi
cal.

Loren Eaton said...

Anyone know if del Toro has Catholic roots? I know Mike Mignola (the guy who made Hellboy) does. Wonder if that's what makes some of the difference in his endings ...

B. Nagel said...

Definitely Catholic roots. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillermo_del_Toro#Early_life

I don't remember where I read it, but there was a story of how his grandmother made him put bottle caps in his shoes before he walked to school as a form of mortification/penance.

Loren Eaton said...

Yikes, yikes, yikes! And I thought the occasional swat was tough childhood punishment.

As a postscript, I'm both pleased and perplexed that a mishmash of Lovecraftian horror and Imagist poetry which I thought no one would understand has garnered the greatest number of comments I've yet received on this blog.