Monday, May 15, 2006


Welcome to the Sixth Edition of the Carnival of the Cockroaches!

Submissions have been sporadic at best over the past several months, but a recent post by Rob Smith - the veritabobble Acidman his ownself - has prompted me to kick open the kitchen door once again to see what scurries under the sink.

Of course, we at Carnival of the Cockroaches are ecumenical. Posts about all manner of disgusting insectile or arthropodal life are welcome. Hey, I’ll even link to your posts about cockroach-shaped boogers; I don’t mind. So keep those Roachy (or Insectile) cards ’n’ letters coming in. Use the convenient Carnival Submission Form to send in your entries, or simply e-mail ’em to me at elisson1 (at) aol (dot) com.

Let’s get things started with coturnix, who writes over at Science & Politics. His horrifying little contribution is a piece about the Revenge of the Zombifying Wasp - which, by the way, makes a jim-dandy movie title, too.

GuyK, who is Charming, Just Charming most of the time, tells us the story of his run-in with Leroy the Watch-Roach over at the local produce stand. See who wins: Mr. Size 13 Cowboy Boot or Leroy.

“Death to Megaroach!” is the unlikely War-Cry of Erica Sherman, who entertains us with erica’s blog and knows how to put the “Heeb” in “Heebie-Jeebies.” Put it this way: it ain’t just a tree that grows in Brooklyn...

Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) - with one of the longest Bloggy Names I’ve ever seen - contributes a piece that discusses whether cockroaches are group thinkers. Perhaps they are. Now if we can just figure out whether they would vote Democrat or Republican, this research might be useful.

Blueberry, of Texas Oasis, contributes a post on Cockroach Civilization. Now, that’s a scary notion! Almost as scary as the notion of a Roach Invasion, which Blueberry appears to have suffered. Yeef!

Before proceeding to our last Roachy Post, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce one of the great roaches of literature: archy the cockroach.

archy was the creation of the late, great Don Marquis (1878-1937), poet and newspaper columnist. In a 1927 column appearing in the New York Sun, archy makes his first appearance:

archy and mehitabel...We came into our room earlier than usual in the morning, and discovered a gigantic cockroach jumping about on the keys. He did not see us, and we watched him. He would climb painfully upon the framework of the machine and cast himself with all his force upon a key, head downward, and his weight and the impact of the blow were just sufficient to operate the machine, one slow letter after another. He could not work the capital letters, and he had a great deal of difficulty operating the mechanism that shifts the paper so that a fresh line may be started. We never saw a cockroach work so hard or perspire so freely in all our lives before. After about an hour of this frightfully difficult literary labor he fell to the floor exhausted, and we saw him creep feebly into a nest of the poems which are always there in profusion.

Congratulating ourself that we had left a sheet of paper in the machine the night before so that all this work had not been in vain, we made an examination, and this is what we found:

expression is the need of my soul
i was once a vers libre bard
but i died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach
it has given me a new outlook upon life
i see things from the under side now
thank you for the apple peelings in the wastepaper basket
but your paste is getting so stale i cant eat it
there is a cat here called mehitabel i wish you would have
removed she nearly ate me the other night why dont she
catch rats that is what she is supposed to be fore
there is a rat here she should get without delay

most of these rats here are just rats
but this rat is like me he has a human soul in him
he used to be a poet himself
night after night i have written poetry for you
on your typewriter
and this big brute of a rat who used to be a poet
comes out of his hole when it is done
and reads it and sniffs at it
he is jealous of my poetry
he used to make fun of it when we were both human
he was a punk poet himself
and after he has read it he sneers
and then he eats it

i wish you would have mehitabel kill that rat
or get a cat that is onto her job
and i will write you a series of poems showing how things look
to a cockroach
that rats name is freddy
the next time freddy dies i hope he wont be a rat
but something smaller i hope i will be a rat
in the next transmigration and freddy a cockroach
i will teach him to sneer at my poetry then

dont you ever eat any sandwiches in your office
i havent had a crumb of bread for i dont know how long
or a piece of ham or anything but apple parings
and paste and leave a piece of paper in your machine
every night you can call me archy

archy went on to write many great works, collected in three books that were published in 1927, 1933, and 1935. He has also inspired at least one Online Journaler, who writes (appropriately enough) a blog called archy. Learn more about Don Marquis and archy at Don, Don, and The illustration above is by George Herriman, who, in addition to providing the definitive image of archy, was most notable for his comic strip Krazy Kat. [Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to John McKay for the illo.]

I have taken the liberty of adding a wonderful little tale from Gut Rumbles to this Carnival by way of a Big Finish. The title pretty much says it all: AIEEEEE! [Caution: Language might be too intense for small children. But then again, what the fuck is a small child doing reading this blog, anyway?]

And that brings this edition of Carnival of the Cockroaches to a close. I’ll put up another one as soon as enough submissions land in my inbox.

archyarchy (here illustrated by the late Edward Gorey) wants to remind you to send in your submissions in for the next Carnival of the Cockroaches. Just use the handy-dandy Carnival Submission Form, helpfully provided by Ferdy, the Conservative Cat, or e-mail me at elisson1 (at) aol (dot) com. Also, don’t forget to tell all your nutty Bug-Loving Friends about us...and remember our sister Carnival, the Circus of the Spineless, the eighth edition of which is up at Get Busy Livin’, or Get Busy Bloggin’. It’s not just a Blog, it’s a Philosophy!™

Linked to the TTLB Übercarnival.

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