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22 The Mouth

hexagram-22-mouth‘A HIGHLIGHT OF the first International Phonetics Symposium will be a click song
in Ndebele – with drum accompaniment (tsk! tsk!).’

Mouth breathing, speaking of the private troubles of the nose, shows
symptoms akin to vacancy. Yogis find the practice disgusting. Exhalation
through the broad hatch of the mouth reduces back pressure, hastening
air escape, giving the lungs a shorter shift. When smallpox decimated
men-of-war on distant seas, not one nostril-breathing sailor succumbed.

1st – The Mindful Mouth
At rest you feel the press of a chair, a light confiding touch of shoes and
socks, sleeve ends, collar ridge, trouser knees, but most meaningfully
the tongue in its gently lapping boathouse of the same conscious stirring,
endlessly ready for the voyage of a lifetime, without ever leaving home.

2nd – The Unconsoled Mouth
‘Never’ means ‘unacceptably seldom’ to a partner driven to the edge.
‘A domestic,’ they say. ‘We’re the wrong kind of specialist.’ But uniforms
do bring a temporary silence, blue-black vacuum of night beyond the city.
The mouth is innocent, save in trespassing on the ear’s thoroughfares.

3rd – The Mouth’s Cry for Help
Closed mouth while speaking: a soundalike for a revered warrior’s name,
this is our portal for guidance from the silent therapist. Still so far away,
the estuary of the glottal stop. In later life she’ll write to an agony aunt:
‘I hate it when guys especially look at your mouth while you’re talking.’

4th – The Mouth of the World
A chemistry-set cuvée sucks: the terroir was probably a speedway track.
An oaky contender gives you a mouth full of splinters. There’s a fruit
bomb too, crass and slutty. The epiphany is a critter wine, Madagascan!
Redolent of vanilla, cinnamon, baobab smoke. Label: ring-tailed lemur.

5th – The Reconstructed Mouth
The gates of titanium, alongside old gold, make the temple of self and
speech distinctive. Rituals are adapted. The mangled tongue finds its own
resurrection, zombie-like at first, then naturalising – cunnilingus, to his
relief, still possible. The trick is to ignore the constant reminders.

6th – The Meeting of Mouths
Two human resources managers, attracted, sifting cvs, launch themselves
into the pink macro blur all of a sudden – the breakthrough escape from a
gaze, a raid on the sweet taste of the other. Then, pulling back, briefly they
study the improbable moon they’ve visited, back in its accustomed orbit.

All six – The Mouth of Truth
‘Say what she longs to hear. If it’s untrue I’ll bite your hand off.’ Thus
threatens the upended Roman drain cover, wrought as open-mouthed
Oceanus impersonating the god of the Tiber. Jilted soldiers make better
fighters. A recruiting sergeant crouches behind the disc with a love letter.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos



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