oulipo.jpgWritings for the Oulipo

By Ian Monk

Make Now

ISBN: 0-9743554-4-5


Homage to Georges Perec...........................................1
Spies in Newquay..................................................9
A Threnodialist's Dozen...........................................11
The Time of Our Lives.............................................17
On G. Adair's A Void..............................................21
Snowballing and Melting...........................................25
Two Sestanagraminas...............................................29
(Mom's Apple) Pie.................................................31
Twin Towers.......................................................35
The Haunting......................................................45
The Russian Doll..................................................51
Two Meetings......................................................53
Three Ain't a Crowd (Hetero/Bisexual Version).....................57

Chapter One

Homage to Georges Perec An Entertainment in Six Univocalisms


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Any reader misunderstanding univocalic composition should ponder those very expressions our author's note contains, since they feature nothing any subsequent passage could include.



Nacarat alpaca slacks, a tarlatan that has flaps, a Franz Hals armband, an Astrakhan hat that has Cranach tags, black spats, black sandals, a grand strass star and an Afghan raglan that has falbalas all clad Andras MacAdam. That smart cat, that has pat all Alan Ladd's art, champs at straws and tarantaras a nag past a pampa.

And, Armand d'Artagnan, a man that plans all, a crack à la Batman, darts past that pampa, wafts an arm and grabs Andras. As, last March at an Arkansas bar ...


-Caramba! starts Max.

-Hah hah! snaps Andras.

-Ah Allah, hasn't Andras a bad star! brags Max.

-Ah Satan! gasps Andras.

And what a match that was: Andras MacAdam, a farmhand that lacks chat, attacks Max van Zapatta, an arrant braggart.

And what a scrap! Slaps and raps whack at that badland bar brawl. What scars and what a drama! Ah ah ah! Crash! Bang! Scratch! Crack! Kappang! A blatant cataclasm!

Max's hanjar stabs Andras's arm. What pangs!

-Stand back, bastard! Andras bawls and splat! falls backwards.

-Hah hah! A flagrant asthma attack! nags Max, and asks: Ali's pat, that drawback apart?

-Damn jackass! As camp as all that lack balls! gabs Andras, aghast.

Bang! Bang! Andras's shafts part and blast Max apart. That braggart grasps at a wall, can't stand, flags, has a haggard gasp and falls.

-Ah Ahab, Al-Kantara's Maharajah, and all that jazz! chants Andras.

-Alack! Alack! blabs Max. And that was that.

As Andras MacAdam's back as an Alcatraz lag, Armand d'Artagnan's saga can add that that man nabs Abraham Hawks at Rabat, at Jaffa cracks Clark Marshall's balls, scalps Frank 'Madman' Santa-Campa at Malaga, hangs Baltard, blasts at Balthazar Stark at Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan), marks Pascal Achard's card at Granada, has a Jag stash an Aga-Khan, claps la Callas at La Scala, blags cash at canasta, nap, brag, blackjack and craps at Jakarta, has a samba-java-csárdás-salsa-chachacha ball at Caracas, grabs a waltz at Bandar Abbas, adapts Franz Kafka at an Alhambra, All That Fall at Alcazar, Cravan, Tzara and Char at Bataclan and Hans Fallada at Harvard, transplants Chaban at Cajarc, masts yachts, catamarans and yawls at Grand Bassam, slaps back a warm Ayala glass, backs an Altanta Packard as far as Galahad's Ranch (Kansas), laps at schnaps, grappa, marc, armagnac and marsala, has a gnash at a parma ham and banana salad, taramasalata snacks, crabs, flapjacks and Alaskan clams, tracks and bags a Madagascan panda, chants (slapdash) Bach, Brahms and Franck at Santa Barbara, mans a bar at Clamart, a tram at Gand, a hatstand at Panama and an agar-agar stall at Arras, at Ankara charms Amanda, a vamp (and 'Twas A Man as Tall as Caracalla star), has a catch-as-catch-can match at that Agran nawab Akbar's Maramara casbah, and that nasal anthrax has that grand Flashman gasp a last gasp at a Karl-Marx Stadt's dacha's sad blank crashpad, sans alarm, all as black as tar, and call at last that fatal clang: "Abracadabra!"

Saga: Gargas Parac. Transplant: A.N. Mank.



When Perec penned the e-less Enlèvement, the Exeter Text (even the He-Men Legend we've seen here) he set free the letters' secret essences. Secret essences? Well, let's see the texts themselves.

These three texts represent three letterless genres:

1 the severe He-Men Legend respects perfect letterlessness;

2 when, less severe, L'Enlèvement respells terms here, then perverts sentences there, Perec lets the text's precepts be detected;

3 even less severe, the Exeter Text eschews pretence: Perec, here, never respects the sterner tenets, never keeps them secret.

The e-less text lets endless glee meet dejectedness. Wherever we peer, we see decent men felled helter-skelter, wretchedness, demented schemers. The feebler sex's members seem few. E-lessness, en effet, never lets her strength be felt. Nevertheless, even here, Perec's glee perseveres. The excerpted 'e' represents Perec's begetters (the French 'e' = 'them') (See 'W,' where he remembers 'them'). The SS left Perec deserted, defenceless. He then rejected the defenceless 'e'. Yet L'Enlèvement keeps the precept secret. There're few SS references (Nevertheless, see L'Enlèvement, ch XXV, p.294 (Eng. text p.269): "Endless fevered cheers met Nell when she'd been freed. Glepf knew he'd been bested. He nevertheless yelled he'd be revenged. The bleeders'd see he led them. Whenever he felt he held the pretext, he'd see her sentenced then penned between Bergen-Belsen's cells."). The well-kept secret expresses depths mere feckless penmen never spelt. When he tethered the verb, the verb re-emerged strengthened, freshened, re-pepped, the sentence renewed. Perec's e-less verve redeems 'them'.

When the 'e' re-emerges (see the Exeter Text), Perec revenges 'them': Clément fells Behrens, the SS feldwebel. Then sex enters the scene. He sets revels between wenches, seven Greek henchmen, Exeter's Reverend Excellence, clerks etc. Yet the sex-revels Perec's pen then ferments end perverted, veer between excesses.

Hence the e-text (glee engenders wretchedness) represents the e-less text's (wretchedness engenders glee) perfect reverse.

The fetters he selected, then, were never senseless, never mere perverted pretence. These fetters were seeds.

Sex drenches the Exeter Text. French sexes the letter 'e'. Yet we seek sex elsewhere. There're letters where she tempts the pen; we've nevertheless rejected her presence (see three texts hence). There're letters where sex seems less ever-present; well, here, the pen fell (see the next text).

When we desert the verb's weltschmerz we enter the letters' sweetest essence. Here, letters smelt sense (wherever lesser penmen've bent them), ferment, engender new legends. Let's heed Prester Tencrede when he tells the Exeter revellers: "We seek the essence where the End meets the Endless." These letterless precepts never let mere pretenders express themselves. Respect them. Remember 'them'.



Hi! I'm Iris. I'm slim, with big tits, trim thighs slid in this tight mini-skirt. It's riding high. This girl's IT, dimwit!

It's midnight. I'm sitting drinking in this ill-lit Irish inn with nihilists, misfits, bits, bints, kinks, pimps 'n' finks. Zilch! till I sight this wit singing:

"Idling I sit in this mild twilight dim Whilst birds, in wild swift vigils, circling skim."

-Hmmm, I sigh. I think I'll flirt with him. If I win him, if I'm his dipchick this night, I'll skim him in circling flights. Right!

Winking, I light his cig.

-I'm Iris, I lisp.

-Hi, I'm Mick McGinnis. Drink?

-Mmmm ... Gin sling?

-Right. Sid! sling this girl's gin!

-Chin chin!

Whilst sipping, I drink him in. I find him, sinking his brimming Irish mild, simplistic, timid, his big limbs, his smiling lips inviting. I grin:

-This gin sling's insipid piss, isn't it?

-Might I finish it?

I sink it.

-Sid! Sid! Pints in! this nitwit sings, finishing his Smithwick's. It's his fifth, I think. His sixth'll find him stinking. Will this dill twig it's his big night?

-Crisps? Fish 'n' chips?

I dismiss this wining 'n' dining shit. Rising, I insist I'll drink with him in his digs. Christ, if I didn't insist, this twit'd miss his midnight high-jinks.

With mincing gits winking, dribbling drips (missing chicks) still sniffing, zit-picking dipsticks whistling, I kiss him. In his pigskin-with its pink lining-I lift him.

It's drizzling. High winds swirl twigs, tins, cigs. Firs sigh. Chill, thick mists cling. I inch him, hips limp, listing, till his mini's in sight.

-I'm driving, his lick-spittling lips insist.

If it's his district, I think I'll risk it.

In his digs, I kiss his lips. Lifting his shirt, impish, I sink. First, I pinch his midriff. Blinking in his hindsight, I kiss his thighs, lick his dick till it's stiff. I grip his fist, sliding it till his mid-digit's clitiris-twiddling, I find his timing middling. If I'm this mild Irish virgin's first? Still frigging him, instinct insists I slip him right in. His prick's big, thick, firm. It's sliding. It's riding. It's jiving. It's writhing. It's hiring. It's firing. It's siring. Bliss! I think this is it. His first innings! His brink!

His lids blink. His lips grin:

-Night night.

I'm fiddling with his prick, nibbling it, giving it lip-stick prints. I shrimp him. I rim him. I hit him. I whip his thighs. Shit! His dick still limp, I dismiss him.

"Iris thinks Micks childish things, Pints diminish midnight flings."



To do or not to do: Gods, how to opt? For who knows good from wrong, or wrong from good; who'd follow forlorn lords, bow down to clods, stoop to Sodom, boom songs of so long loss, or dog coxcombs, hobnob to hollow loons; who'd down hootch, long for boons Gods know not of; who'd drool onto dons, for whom tomfools blot drops onto books, or low words (how now brown cow?); who'd smooth wrongs, mock worlds from top to bottom, or crow to crowds for blood; who'd doctor horrors, or woo doom's pogroms, Lot's loss, Bloom's sorrows, or woof of wolf or woof of Clotho's loom? So do not! Good's soon wrong, wrong's soon good for tomorrow, tomorrow, for tomorrow.



dumb bulls crush us cults murmur humdrum bumf curs gull us numbskulls hum us humus Ur-tush snuffs Lulu's musk lustful Gurus-cum-Ubus cup Lulu's dugs shun truth shunt us up mug-fulls grubs suck us mum guts dug (ugsum!) but GP's hung us duff Gurus sunk Ur-tush strung dud Ubus up struck curs dumb burst bunkum drunk Lulu's musk cut numbskulls' untruths sung us puns dug us up puts us up



my, my, my, why try cry dryly, fly by ply slyly Styx's lymphs by hymns tryst sky-myths by syzygy, nymphs

my, my, my, why cry pry slyly by, try



Chapter Two

Spies in Newquay A Pangrammatic Story

A spy's existence can be a lonely and disorientating one. Isolated from normal society, it is easy to fall into a personal fantasy world. But oddly enough, when two or more spies get together, the results can be even worse: instead of finding solace in each other's company, their paranoia breeds even more quickly, often leading them to make disastrous mistakes.

Some years ago, three KGB undercover agents (codenamed Xewd, Yumnf and Zoq) found that they were simultaneously on the trail of the same double agent, who was known as Sjarvitch. He was a particularly cunning operative, who had taken to hiding out in British holiday camps during the summer months. Such places enabled him to adopt any number of shifting identities, mingling in with the crowds of singing and drinking proletarians, while remaining near the sea should a sudden escape by boat prove necessary. Unfortunately for Xewd, Yumnf and Zoq, they lacked Sjarvitch's ability to blend anonymously into this holiday atmosphere, particularly after they had identified one another and started conspicuously drinking vodka together in the camps' bars. Our double agent was thus able to keep one step ahead of his pursuers and soon started intentionally tormenting them with false leads.

On one notable occasion, in Newquay, he left a coded but easily decipherable message in his chalet, before changing camps and identities once more. The three KGB men happily seized on the bait and took the message to the bar to decode over a bottle of vodka. By the end of the bottle, three pairs of bleary eyes were staring at the camp's D J, who was innocently playing the latest dance tunes and bantering with the holiday-makers, while selecting contestants for the weekly pop music and general knowledge quiz. According to the message, the double agent and the DJ had been lovers (in fact, the DJ had rejected Sjarvitch's advances, and a little personal revenge was also part of his plan). Fearing that he was about to be unmasked, Sjarvitch said that he had left a coded account of his findings, and of the identities of the KGB operatives who were onto him, with his old lover. He hinted that the DJ had taken to keeping this message always on his person (to be precise, in his underpants) for safety's sake and as a reminder of happier days. Xewd, Yumnf and Zoq ordered another bottle of vodka and discussed what to do next. Their first idea was to sit tight, then raid the DJ's chalet later that night. But as the second bottle went down, their paranoia mounted. What if the British secret services got to him first, immediately after the quiz? They might be unmasked and arrested at once. After a little more reflection, they decided to enter the quiz, in order to keep as close as possible to their new prey. Although somewhat the worse for drink, they were accepted as members of team four, in the second round of the quiz. This gave them time for a third bottle.

While they were drinking it, Sjarvitch reappeared in the bar, but so heavily disguised that he was unrecognizable. Intentionally looking shifty, he walked over to the DJ at the end of the first round of the quiz, and whispered something in his ear. The DJ nodded and pointed at his watch. Thinking that this must be the contact and that their identities were about to be revealed, the three KGB men jumped up onto the stage. Instead of taking their seats as expected, Xewd and Zoq grabbed the DJ by his arms, while Yumnf unzipped the poor man's trousers and started ferreting around inside his y-fronts. As the astonished DJ fainted, the camp's security guards seized the three spies. They were then turned over to the police.

The next morning, the following headline appeared in the Newquay Gazette:


-Slightly, but fittingly ambiguous, remarked the satisfied double agent. And, what is more, a perfect isopangram that doesn't mention any of us by name.



Chapter Three

A Threnodialist's Dozen

Long since, the happy dwellers of these valleys Have prayed me leave my strange exclaiming music, Which troubles their day's work, and joys of evening ... -Sir Philip Sidney


Slither on, dash in, dare to lead this lorn art's line doh to si land her notes' hard lilt.

One shard inhaled, its order's lain, to hand Sorel this threnodial.


She: I ran, told hearts' old insane lord this thin ode, rallied as thorns rain.

He: Dolt! Tarnished old harlot, sine ira, don't shelter in ash, dolor's thin deal.

She: Don't rail! I lost and here I shan't droll at his end or rant. Shield on air!

He: Lost? Doesn't hard ill rain shed other oils and threads in lot's honed trail?



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