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Old Professions

December 15, 2008

POET: I told them to look for the right words in the bluest place. Some turned to the sky. Some observed an odd bruise on an old one. My star students closed their eyes. I knew even if they did not find words, they found sparkling black.

CARPENTER: There were no new nails. We burned down houses and shifted ashes to reclaim old nails. But the houses had been fixed with wooden pegs. So I told the boys to make nails of forks and spoons and wedding rings.

CLOCKSMITH: One was two and two was three. What’s the difference? One hour was no better or worse than another. Only the shadow of a dying tree remained loyal to time. The girls were most stubborn. How do you make twenty-five out of twenty-four? They pouted.

COBBLER: If you run out of cowhide, there’s always pigskin. Or the hides from dogs or goats or sheep. If it came down to it, you could peel your skin off your own thighs for shoes, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

SINGER: It was easy to teach them to sing. It was less easy to teach them to sing with joy. How could I teach them something I didn’t know? My melodies were suspected. We sang songs of frogs, of cranes, of bats.

COBBLER: The fact was, we didn’t have anywhere to walk to anyway.

CLOCKSMITH: And since we didn’t know what day it was, why track the hours?

CARPENTER: Our team built seventeen houses but there was nobody to live in even one of them.

POET: We gnawed on the words we did not forget. The words became smaller but never lost their flavour.

by Tammy Ho Lai-ming and Reid Mitchell

Reading by Dave Bonta – Download the MP3

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  1. Unabridgdments
    December 16, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I have come across a number of pieces by the writing duo of Mitchell and Ho. I have been consistently impressed by their dialogues, which strike me as very original and insightful. It is great to finally hear one of them read aloud. Kudos qarrtsiluni!

  2. December 16, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Glad you liked it. We have a second one of theirs still in queue, so stay tuned!

  3. Bob Bradshaw
    December 16, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Delightful, clever, just a lot of fun….

  4. December 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Oh! Grand.

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