Sam & Deli

Sam & Deli meet at the entrance to their university | Sam arrives early every day to chain smoke roll-ups | trying to beat his previous record of 7 in the space of 15 minutes. It is winter. The threat of snow builds in blue cumulus | beautiful perm-like renderings.

Sam: “Deli | how’s it goin’?”
Deli: “I’m alright Sammy | how about yourself?”
Sam: “Can’t complain. Bit knackered. Got lashed last night at The Scholar. You read the poem?”
Deli: “You mean Pale Fire?”
Sam: “Yeah! It was well easy | finished it proper quick. Odd that we had to read a poem for our contemporary fiction class though | come to think of it.”
Deli: “Can’t think why eh?”
Sam: “Na. & y’know i can’t be arsed with reading forewords  & introduction crap & forrrrrrget (he swivels his head round the r) about notes at the back of the book. That’s why I picked fiction. I like to form my own ideas. That Kinbote whatsizname? Sounds like a robo-wizard or summat. Sod that! Couldn’t find any other poems by that John Shade | bit old fashioned for me | bit full of himself | but good nonetheless. & i don’t usually like poetry. It’s a bit pretentious.”
Deli: “Ah yes the magic word of the retarded ‘good’. Maybe you can affix a ‘really’ on the front of that & reeeallllyyy (she says sarcastically) do the genius of Nabokov justice. “Old-ie world-ie” “ro-bo wiz-ard” “can’t be arsed with fore-words & notes at the back?” (She says this in a thick dull tone trapping the air round her palatine raphe | breathily punching outward with each syllable in hyperbolic mockery of him.)”
Sam: “Huh! Why?”
Deli: “You realize don’t you that Pale Fire is a novel. Kinbote’s foreword / introduction & the glossary are fictional. They tell a story. It is an experimental narrative device | it urges the reader to investigate & speaks volumes about the deranged protagonist Charles Kinbote.”
Sam: “Oh…shit. Egg on my face. I thought Kinbote was some critic or summat.”
Deli: “Y’know | since you shaved yer ‘ead | i think you got a lot thicker | y’Jack o’Spades.
Let me get a look at you (she grabs him by the chin) yes! Your jaw is actually looking a little slacker & your gait more Neanderthal-like. I recommend you grow your hair back Sam | keep that meaty processor of yours insulated.”
Sam: “Bloody hell Deli a butterfly at this time of year. Crazy that is. Global warming’s doin’ that. Nature’s all in a mix up.”
Deli: “It’s not just nature.”

It starts to snow.


  1. Nice interlude. A smoke break in winter. The outdoors and a brisk conversation. I try not to look too deep unless invited.

    1. So sorry to disappoint but scratch away at this & you’ll discover an allusion & the joke of it (which i think is hilarious) only works if you read Nabokov’s novel ‘Pale Fire’. Sorry sorry sorry. Glad you enjoy it for just the shape n’ colour of it though. i was concerned this one wouldn’t land all that well.

      1. Ah! I just placed a hold at my local library. Nabakov is one whose poetry I can get my teeth into. Thanks for that.

  2. Feck! I bloody love this! I love it on a gut level, so no half-arsed intellectual comments from me today!

    [My agent would love it too. He’s always going on about W.G. Sebald and Nabokov. Some bee in his bonnet… or butterfly under his bowler, I wot not.]

  3. An amusing and enjoyable poetic play, Daniel, probably shown by me identifying very strongly with Sam. 🐒 Although like Sam, I can’t make any literary comments, it’s good. And nice too.🐒 In a minute, I’m going to print it out, roll it up and smoke it. 🐒

    1. Sam is sort of lovable, no shame in identifying with him. & i have no quarrel with you smoking my “poetic play” so long as something more herbal gets dashed in with the tobacco, if ye get me drift.

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