Haruspex Day, COVID-19 edition

One hundred years ago on my birthday. From NYPL Collections via DPLA

DADA program, 3/27/1920

Here it is the Ides of March again and let me say I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING as of, say, December. I mean I knew things would be awful, because they have been awful for 3 1/2 years plus, and I foresaw the political season getting worse and worse (although maybe since we’re used to the pain it would be duller? We’ll see). But not a world-wrapping disease. Ach, you can hardly get good sacred bull liver nowadays.

So I thought of another mode of scrying. For the last ten days or so I’ve been following @dictionarish on Twitter. This is a neural network trained on the OED that tweets out a word or phrase (sometimes real, sometimes invented) and a definition, complete with IPA pronunciation and etymology, several times a day. They are frankly surreal. I’ve been cutting out a phrase or two and re-tweeting some of them. I took all my snipped phrases and put them together and meditated on the result.

Perhaps we have to blame not bats but camels, chickens, tigers, and trout? No, the animals are not the specified thing.

Or it’s that first man to prove tigers, somehow sorting the country’s angular plates.

But this is meant to be prophecy. So. I predict: that things will be very confusing, even surreal. That many of us will pass through what seems like a different world, strangely collectively. That some appearances will soothe our fevers, judged by the feeling of mercury. That we may — or alternately may not — be able to bear. That some possibilities will vanish.

I don’t believe in the universal incuress. I do believe I am tune-spined, miserabouring, rendezvouring by the tiger’s teeth, with rope, flour, and fish. I hope for a method of following, of solving the algebrait of the city, of passing opposite the brightest crossing to the winning season.

A poem of camel / a specified thing / Fever is a second world
in the winning season/ and chickens
Chosen to or above or down
the first man to prove tigers
four money / miserabouring
opposite brightest crossing / strangely collectively / spat or bottom
to the country’s angular plates
(ripes) that travelling from a building / sorted with alternate them / able to bear
the universal / incuress
analgesic appearance /with seasoning in the first size
A hasty little more / this underdriving bearer
a method of following /the algebrait of the city
withdraw a possibilitie /put an opponent to press
A feeling of mercury
Rope / flour and trout
a rendezvouring actor


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