What’s on the other side of the forest?


Q: Who built the building?

PP/SH: A Mormon from east-middle school, St. Petersburg, Ohio, who worships consciousness.

Q: Where does the river flow?

SH: Out of a mouthpiece of a giant helmet, which is itself made of water. An ice-helmet.

PP: A wormhole of matter.

Q: What colour is the grass at night?

JA: The colour of a maniac’s wet dream.

SH: It pulses with the iridescent tips of penises.

PP: Midway remnants of the Sun.

Q: What lives under the bridge?

SH/PP: An insane Castilian with a mop who is continuously mopping the river and straining it out into a bucket of emptiness while his wife twirls like a dervish beside him.

Q: Who lives in the castle?

JA/PP: Sa’ad (SH)’s doppelgänger, with chrome teeth and a patch on his eye.

SH: A slippery eel made from the wax of a child’s tears.

Q: If the river is not water, what is it?

PP: A viscous fluid of anthropomorphic immeasurability.

JA: The cotton candy that comes out of processed nightmares.

SH: An out of control gay orgy where the sweat and semen are so sparkling with unfulfilled lust that it turns blue.

Q: Describe the rocks.

SH: The buttocks of ashen maidens sticking out of the water so that sailors can look and say “no thanks.”

JA: Whatever they are, they are hungry.

Q: What’s on the other side of the forest?

PP: A penitentiary for mentally ill children born in the castle and deemed unfathomably radioactive.

SH: A prism made from irises of such unbelievable complexity that all light beams refract inside it in ever newer patterns, and never escape.

Q: Describe the smell of the air.

SH: Like harsh bleach and the howling of disrespective housewives.

JA: Like frequent tigers.

PP: And mist like an elephant’s trumpet.

Q: What happens to this scene at the end of time?

PP: The earth erupts under its foundations.

SH: A man with unbearable OCD is asked a very difficult question and he smooths the whole thing away with his worrying hands.

PP: It turns out he’s an alien, and he had a spaceship in the cellar. He takes off into the sky.

-January 31 2019.


No More Fattening Frogs for Snakes!

[The following text will appear in print in the 2019 edition of Oystercatcher, and will be distributed at various gatherings and actions in support of the Wet’suwet’en.]

It took me a long time to find out my mistakes

But I’m not fattenin’ no more frogs for snakes.

Sonny Boy Williamson

 The Unist’ot’en are the Big Frog clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation. They defiantly croak at the colonizer’s yoke without reservation. They are hungry for decolonization. We honor their spirited resistance to colonial authority and offer our wholehearted solidarity.

That the Canadian government would like to fatten indigenous peoples up for the kill should come as no surprise. One aspect of colonial policy has always been to “fatten frogs for snakes”, either by cajolery, bribery or by the deadening domestication of the feedlot. In this case, the snakes are the extractive tentacles of the fossil fuel industry whose serpentine form is the pipeline. That venomous symbol is the opposite of the lifegiving phallus of Eros. It is the phallus of death and destruction. Destruction of the land and death to the people of the land.

The autonomy of the Unist’ot’en frog pond is in danger as their un-ceded territory outside the confines of the reserve is threatened by TransCanada (TC Energy)/Coastal GasLink predators. “Why not just cut your losses and fatten up at the corporate trough,” say the colonizers with a wink? But the hereditary chiefs have refused to allow the living body of the land to be carved up without a fight. They yearn for long-term sustenance rather than the empty calories of fast-food trickery. In contrast, the reservation band councils have signed on with the LNG industry for the chance to get a piece of the pie after having so long been restricted to the meager crumbs from the colonial table. But the whole frackin’ pie is rotten! It has been (half)baked by the same people who came to these lands from Europe over 150 years ago with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other. They were the missionaries of cultural genocide who sought to colonize the minds of the next generation in the residential schools.

And the colonial drive for assimilation is not dead yet. Take your pick says the latest, Great White Father, Justin “Sunny Ways” Trudeau:  the bureaucratic carrot of government-sponsored “reconciliation” or the military stick of RCMP invasion. These are the current faces of the ongoing Canadian policy of assimilation which often amounts to little more than guilt-ridden calls for “healing” on the part of the descendants of the settlers while the “hurting” still goes on in relation to indigenous communities. While bewildered settlers, hypocritical politicians and smug media talking heads arrogantly presume that strawman “consultations” are enough to smooth over historic antagonisms, the colonizers relentlessly continue to drain the pond of its nutrients and pollute the groundwater of life that still flows in the veins of the land.

We stand with those traditional chiefs responsible for the health of the land in their opposition to the toxic pipeline and its world. Proudly they proclaim the sovereign basis for their actions in protecting their own territory: “We are not protestors. We are Wet’suwet’en!”.

As surrealists opposed to the institutional violence of the Canadian state and the physical violence of the RCMP’s war on the Unist’ot’en land defenders, we dream of a mighty “rain of frogs” to cleanse the Earth!

A Joint Declaration

by Amphibians for Decolonization

 Inner Island Surrealist Group (K’ómoks/Pentlatch territory)

Ottawa Surrealist Group

(Algonquin Anishnaabeg territory)

Cluck cluck

for chicken fat, against leanness

Les Blank’s “Chicken Real”, 1970

Meet lean…

A once neutral, carnifectal adjective raised in ulterior times to overwhelming ideological category.

More protein, less calories. Main ingredient for the supposed development of healthy superhumans. Eat lean to get lean.

Slicing off the fatty bits. Reducing.

Shorthand for the entire superficialstructure of health, athleticism, sports, body image. A class status symbol hiding behind the false objectivity of nutritional science.

Speeding up.



An extended metaphor for business efficiency, but especially parasitic managerialism and rigorous austerity against the lowest strata of the working class. Explicitly invoked in connection with Japanese auto manufacturers and “just-in-time” delivery. The elimination of “muda” (waste) compared to excess fat.

“Lean in”. Misogyny. Double standards.

On the other plate…

Will called it chicken fat. Why ‘chicken fat’? In the historical survey, Mad Art, Mark Evanier writes, “Just what that means is a good question, but it probably means something ridiculous.”-Will Elder: The Mad Playboy of Art

Chicken fat is delicious, and also, a shorthand term coined by Will Elder for the obtrusive business and over-gagging present in classic screwball comics. Jewish working class flavouring.

Adding layers and layers.

Overcomplication, humor, confusion as a tactic. Sabotage or just plain uselessness. But in excess. Bad taste but delicious. Synaesthesia, puns verbal, visual, manic. Explosions.

Slowing down.


Peripheral mania.

Chicken fat is the stuff that oversaturates reality, transforms it, flavours it. The discarded cartooning concept that can be weaponized against the latest fads of capitalist culture.


For dirty bibs and fingerstains. It’s the engorged deliria of the Fourierist gourmand that will elevate us above the lame neutrality and purchased slimness of the one percent fatters.

There is an unconscious tendency to want to “trim down” which must be smothered in fat and drowned. Not against health, but for a real health, against faux-asceticism.

Tinker with what you’re supposed to leave alone. Avoid creative solutions. Resolve problems that have already been figured out. Get distracted by alleyways and stray cats and hat puns.

Add more. Fill in the blank spaces. Convolute, convulse.

From Anna Hoffman’s recording of Rubin Doctor’s “Chicken”, made available by Yiddish Penny Songs.