If you love, adore the moon. If you rob, steal a camel.

Stories for the Long Silk Road

Sunday, February 16, 2014

John Pursch: Bridgehead Bardo

Coffin door sucked him down below the streets of Terran Hoax to swirling void of Bridgehead Bardo, where dotted i meets question mark in periodic table rot beneath syntactic shovels.

Chief Amoeba swallowed deeply, marveling at kaleidoscopic nuns and daughters, doctrinaire cadaver schism plushly aligned in serried delight, arrayed in daylight trade wind eulogies for wartime vigilante traitors, bombing ruins into mossy auxiliary holding tanks, twirling threads of consciousness in bleeding collared youth from sudden sod return to womb selection preparation bilge, in gradual emergence beyond embodied separation.

Grappling armless, headless stares to immediacy’s unexpected bliss retainer well of unwalled winking eyeless lust for raw delicious orbit surge, to cram again, autumnal creature drainage down beyond cyclonic cistern garb of spinning limbs or oxen parity or swollen grandeur’s imminent collapse in relapse trough to ego frenzy’s death regard retreating flesh deplaning body’s footstool tendon toehold gripped asunder given way to lossage now supplanting fore and afterimages of plight insightful triage overflowing bliss brain burial.

He sudden gets he’s long been dead no waking wonder left to airborne recompense for weeks no months his ink’s run dry a caravan of chariots from here to hearsay’s fluid plop is easing drifting topsoil soaring now to cloudtop yore in starry vista’s pleasing tremble. 

Chief’s no longer just amoebic cells of wonder ponder interplanetary dustbin clamor’s quantum foam in vacuous congruity remembers childhood premises identifying turnstile love participating fully futile whereabouts unknown to cobbled crude existence theorems differential gape of uncapped gravitational collapse indented crustacean benevolence in torpor’s effusive nodal binge to marital recumbent concurrence in cordial acceptance revealing lost insanity rephrased to squabble cover charge penumbral pond of callow being formed in chaste perdition sending mission orbs obtaining softly drawing curvature implying spine lock.

Musty odor roaming freely captured logjam lungs with millions vying crouching squeezing warmly sweating down the garden pathway’s irresistible drawstring haven motile habit bounced from promissory hovel boom to next door gallivanter’s noontime tryst to midnight backseat stallion mood to foreign film extravaganza’s popcorn lasso lassitude in vernal basement sleeping boggling nascent mind.

He somehow caught successful fleeting weightless lunger hooked in bardo exit red light universal portage back up river implant groaning weighty crooning undetected blissful satisfaction plunged with milled parallels in seeping openings to livid geyser total hourly pipeline screamers preening daydreams bumped about on daily walks to routine job line contrail spew.

If only life could somehow what the evidently knotted flashing bloodline interruption guffaw from crazy wind-torn ambulance slush embossed deranged in unseen lack of intent to fallow throughput’s seasonal ardor cresting mottled million castaways cascading cavitation plumbing poor ciliated dreadnought sluice Aegean seizure balking in the whiny runt canned fusion shoddy tautology weddings rung truth demeaning notary pulpit brothel sideline encapsulating my murder in momentary glimmer backstreet bungling carrion landfill vestige.

Whence again flurry contusions furious cantons culled hides estopped delusions of lighter-than-burial bleatings fleeting mammaries sodden dishrag art fulsome denigration futile revolution heading off unaltered suture lines of usury in illegitimate promise supplants embargoed solecisms grubby drab analytical looping wade this fistula of crowned descent in louvered possibilities of passage blocked to turgid couth returning swooping more enjoined to suffer here in bardo free-fall subway carcass limbo.

Cycle off switch clackety crill influx trample without anything shower shave imbibe rework and weld and gradually believe the bardo routine mythos reel adapting sleep to sloughing off awaking landscape bulkhead dreaming daylight functionary dreading what you came for swapping birth’s dissolving memory elusive consciousness receding in contradicted nightmare of feline puff incinerated drag in lightning swoon illusion death elated to be born from eons.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Donal Mahoney: Going Bananas

One of many problems Marjorie has had in life is poor banana management. She has always purchased too many bananas and half of them rot on her kitchen table before she can eat them. Only fruit flies in summer prompt her to throw the rotten ones out. But since she hates to throw anything away, there are bananas, in different places, all over the house. 

This is not the kind of problem a renowned artist like Marjorie should have. Not only are her paintings on display at major modern art museums but she also holds a doctorate with high honors in philosophy from Yale. She is an accomplished woman, still attractive despite the passing years, the kind of woman a distinguished widower might turn to for companionship after a graceful mourning period had been observed. 

Banana management, however, is not Marjorie's only problem in the real world, as she calls life outside her studio and classroom. Marjorie also has a problem putting gas in her car. Putting the hose in the tank evokes thoughts of rape, even though she herself has never come close to being raped.

After many years Marjorie knows certain things are too much for her. Banana management and filling gas tanks are but a few of the many things she fears. These things, however, continue to grow in number and threaten her mental and emotional balance in a serious way. 

She knows she needs professional help but has yet to pick a therapist to consult. In a small university town, everyone knows everyone. Marjorie is a respected woman as indeed she deserves to be. No one, except for me, has any notion of her problem.

I know about the problem because she explained it to me at great length one day in the break room. We have been teaching at the same small but prestigious university for many years. Although in different disciplines, we know something about each other's work and often talk about our experiences, both good and bad. 

As a zoologist, I work with hamsters, and for the last decade that work has been rewarding but at the same time very frustrating and I have shared my frustrations with Marjorie many times. She is a good listener.

She know that hamsters do well on a treadmill but otherwise there's no predicting what they may do. And there's no shortage of them, either, in my laboratory. I have cages and cages of them. They reproduce almost as fast as the rabbits I worked with in preparing my dissertation. 

I am no longer involved with rabbits, however, since losing my position at another university when an animal shelter came to my laboratory and took my rabbits away. Hamsters have been the focus of my research since finishing my doctorate. So far no one has called an animal shelter to check on my hamsters but the cost of food alone is killing me. 

With regard to Marjorie, however, I suppose one reason she took me into her confidence is that decades ago we had courted and even talked of marriage. No wedding came to pass, however. Marjorie never married and I married someone else a few years later. Marjorie didn't seem to mind.

I listened carefully to everything Marjorie had to say that day in the break room. I knew about her banana management problem but her gas tank situation was new to me. After bringing her up to date on my hamster research, I thought it might help if I told Marjorie that Pablo Picasso once said "there is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality."

I suggested to Marjorie that Picasso's idea, properly applied, might help her adjust to things in the real world. I suggested that she reverse his approach and deal with things first in the abstract--as a philosopher to get to the essence of things that bother her. And then as an artist she might commit those same things to canvas in a way she would not find intimidating. The process might help her, I said, come to grips with things as they are and not as she now found them to be. Perhaps she could remove the terror involved in throwing out rotten bananas. 

For example, she might start with green bananas, first in the abstract and then on canvas, and then graduate to bananas rotting on her kitchen table. I did not tell her, however, that decades ago when we were talking about marriage the reason I backed out was her ineptitude in banana management. Dinner at her house was intolerable immersed as I found myself in the stench of bananas in various stages of decay. 

I did not tell her either that the woman I married has never once in 40 years let a banana rot in our home. I had told my wife-to-be before we got married that if she wanted to buy bananas, good for her, but not to expect me to provide any help in eating them. I also told her that if I ever saw a banana rotting anywhere in our house I would leave her for another woman, one with no history of eating bananas.

I have had a wonderful marriage. This underscores for me the importance of good banana management in any marriage. Of course, from my point of view, the best banana management is no bananas.

After our talk in the break room, I told Marjorie that if I could be of any help in the future in resolving her difficulties not to hesitate to call on me. After all, she once adopted several of my older hamsters and gave them a home even though I told her they had no history of eating bananas. 

I simply wanted to return the favor and listen to whatever else Marjorie might want to say. After all we have been through together, I might have some insight, however serendipitous, into the problems she is living with on a daily basis. I was there at the start, I reminded her, when the bananas first became a problem.

Marjorie thanked me for my kindness in listening and then asked if I could give her a lift home. She had run out of gas. Her car would be fine in the faculty parking lot, she said, and she would call the auto club tomorrow to bring another can of gas. 

In the meantime, she said it might be nice to make a big bowl of banana pudding. She admitted she always has a taste for banana pudding but usually forgets to make it in time. I said that might be a good idea but politely declined her kind offer to make an extra bowl for me.

Monday, February 3, 2014

John Pursch: Sylvia

She has been in my body now for several years maybe forever and just discovered recently observed in shadow mind yes in neural waypoints of simple ideograms of thought chalice overload pouring vestibules to glimpse emphatic dawn in hallowed beauty’s malfeasance swoop to world liquid. 

How did she enter unseen voiceless without floorboard creak or hint of daylight pantry bobble capstone greatcoat opening? 

A precipice of merging hair, from auburn sky to beet entendre to backstroke catapult to armchair discourse, undersea ink’s chromatic coma screaming silver yesses and we are running down corridors of brilliant grass on empty stomachs in stigmata overgrowth, eternal emblems of prosaic distress, laughing now a bright yellow cackle ruptures the night, bridging headline pews beyond flickers of cat door ketosis in missing fowl perhaps a wild gazelle flashing half follies into hairline fixtures of her sudden death report to generations barely born, somatic yearlings left to read about water, mighty spans, and frozen flows of pipelined tulip surgery…

The spectacles are off, no tears behind the wooden highlands, shivers all but manifest in cropped cylindrical skullcap semblance of childhood’s interrupted dream compartment canister convolved in floes of oxygen pistons legging out the crunch of gravel courtyard drive-thru contraption shunt. 

We are together early, off and onto intermittently interred blissful slumber’s woolen gasket slightly poised ahead around coronal fusion’s word line cone, spinning tandem overload for all.

“Why?” is tossed away, bobbled to country hills, flipped out speeding windows, splashing passing sky with neon tundra’s guilt guffaw, return embrace, confession’s rented thunderclap often followed deep to fuel line memories of motive habit breathless gusty smile atop her final edgewise page this very week of line feed consequence and burning aloe early morning laundry lamp for infant treason carefully regarded.

And always clocked in droning profusion our numbered daisy wheel emerges glints recedes thought hand eyes touch lapsing into chewed notebooks a fragment digested outline of an inverse profile winking into oblivion.

Silk Road Mantra

by Suchoon Mo

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road

I go and go

from west to east

I go and go

from east to west

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road


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