Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hocus Pocus & the Lockward Chocolate

Day 190...and two random strangers are reading Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut, because

1) her sister loved Cat's Cradle
2) he loved Slaughterhouse 5

Another random stranger is reading Slaughterhouse 5, because, amazingly, we had a copy at Babbitt's. The sister who loved Cat's Cradle still needs a copy of that because she loaned it to someone and never got it back. Which seems to happen often with Vonnegut.

Now you see it, now you don't!

I was fascinated, in my mini-pseudo-research on this topic (Wikipedia, Amazon.com) to learn that "hocus pocus" may derive from the ritual and Latin of the Eucharist, a sort of hoc est corpus corruption, or from a Norse sorcerer, Ochus Bochus (sounds good to me), or from the Welsh for "hoax," which is Hovea Pwca, the second part pronounced Pooka, from which we also get Shakespeare's Puck (a personal favorite), or, perhaps some combination of all these into random coincidii form!!! I love words, and word origins, even if they are far-fetched.

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows....

Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus is structurally interesting, being a nonlinear collage of fragments by main character Eugene Debs Hartke (college professor/prison inmate) "assembled" by Vonnegut into this piecemeal satire.

I love Vonnegut. I remember reading the short story collection titled God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater as a mere teen, beside my hometown pool. OK, I was weird. But surely other teens I knew loved Vonnegut, too!

My Diane Lockward "chocolate" for the day, from What Feeds Us, actually has a chocolate in it, with a date inside instead of a cherry or apricot. (Hocus pocus, an unanticipated fruit! But I'm so weird, I love dates!) Anyway, it is a lovely and funny prose poem about...ah! dating!...that contains the phrase "Yesterday a letter appeared in my mailbox..." which sort of freaks me out, as I am just now proofreading a prose poem that takes place in the foyer and involves a letter in my mailbox!

On the other hand, it is always nice to find a kindred spirit.

And, to further the random coincidii, a fellow came in the store today who is someone I hope someday to set up with my accidentally celibate friend...who shall remain nameless.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I loved Breakfast of Champions as a teenager too! I remember the feeling that I was reading something very grown-up and risque at the time.