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Thomas Mann’s Diaries

11 January 1938

Tinkered with the weather. Arranged my writing-desk
on the spare dentures. The black ink elegant and sinewy.
Fog under the side table all morning
until the electric light finally shone. This afternoon
took to the sea with my walking-stick and submariner’s
lightning-proof boots. Shaved my dark suit.
Put on a change of air. Opened the wormy door
of the bracket clock. Helped to sleep
by fifty Phanodorm tablets
and the sprucest waves from the concierge and his staff.

Mental Convolvulus

I dragged out a fork of lightning
a baby’s rattle a death rattle I
dragged out a phosphorescent spade
used on Romney Marsh for paranormal
gardening I dragged out the Dobermann
whose teeth were gripping a bone
of contention I dragged out a ticket admitting
two plus a ravishing child to the Marquis de Sade’s masked ball
to be held in the rope forest of a gymnasium
I dragged out a crooked thought
spreading through the gilded wood of a cathedral angel I dragged out
a jar of worms from the bed of the world’s most serene & innocent princess
I dragged out the square on the hypotenuse
which was filling with umbrella-like trees & frail
old ladies whose bosoms were decorated
with Iron Crosses & which was equal to the sum of
von Richthofen’s Flying Circus on the other two sides I dragged
out the grand piano containing the repressed
volume of eighty-eight gagged sopranos
I dragged out a bishop’s mitre packed
with books whose pages ran
with the blood of carnal knowledge.

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