The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2017

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OCT 2017 Issue

Lost and Found Animals Part 12: Constant Recognitions of Constancy

The tangible life of life forms—these have been made into the various moving shapes within us and given a slippery shake, a sliding powdery shimmer, a certain time and an assembled space within our own generally unbounded history. A filmy, evanescent zoo floats with the lives of others through our now enlarging lives as if we had been given up to the shape of a river in whose pure, bi-polar reflection the always present always assembled historical creatures, our living and risen ancestors, would float within us at a perfectly disposed of distance, having their elegant exits and entrances prepared for them within us. They have been grounded deeply into the stuff of our cells, rubbed from paste to power with the immaculate mortar and pestle of bent and crinkled and fully elastic events contained within a fully elastic time and space, “elastic” because we cannot hold them within their (and our) numinous and limited boundaries, and because we are what they have become in us and become with us, strained through shapes that come and go like the days of our lives, forms that, simply, enter, bow to us, and leave, a fog of apparent movement within a slowly whispered murmur, (the movement of an apparent fog) dulled from an enabling exactitude and, as they pass along the screen of our cineramic eyes, painted and pulsing (their seepage is over us everywhere), the old, magisterial many-layered apartment houses are prepared from them, ready and waiting for their fully voting supra-conventional political parties (complete with nude women bursting from plaster basted cakes), their yea sayers and nay sayers, so to speak, speaking from the prepared, in fact, over-prepared, platform. They have dispersed into the others of their kind and activated kindred or have become half-way indistinguishable from the landscape which they once so forcefully discovered within themselves and therefore so fluidly inhabited and then as they slowly turn from red to yellow to gray beyond the rising sun of their almost fixed birth days, have dispersed themselves into the more and more present void, have vanished into the winking, desperate, timeless weather of day and night cut to pieces before them. Yet—we still, perhaps ritually—bring them up to us again and again out of the blank faces of the air and its larger atmosphere, bring them into the world of equal remembrance, into a temporarily purified, cinematic vision.

We have awakened the forms that now lie trapped inside us, sleeping comfortably within the combined costumes of their almost alien attributes and blinked out alternate though questionably alien possibilities, cards of an endless deck. They stretch and open and stretch again and open again and again the flowery antennas of their opaque and porous eyes, their skinscape awakening before us, within us. But are these the same extracted ones we had walked through and the ones who had effortlessly walked through us so thoroughly, stamped now four-dimensionally onto our being here so newly arrived, being so quietly and queerly here? No, these shapes, whose accidental form and invented function slowly and inevitably fuse the fully unforced and forcefully knotted and weft-woven, molecularly glued to us contracted contraditions we carry with us like our clothing of prepared circumstance, further nail down the painted and appalling primary assumptions (which float within us always) into the seemingly, yes, seemingly impenetrable floors we have assumed were so stable, so permanent, so lasting in their so salient drift and in their instant by instant miraculous existence.

Yet we may lift from our focused cells and form fitted circumstance the assumptions (they stick to us like blurred burrs) into the unstable air of all transformations (equally unstable); and something we had not supposed or felt before and entering with us as a ghostly guest, something unsupported by assumptions and freed from ambulant and siren-shrieking assumptions, rises to fill us, spills over us over and over, shakes its dust out of us into the patched twilight which, compacted of ambiguous minute minutes and expanded into seriously heavy centuries, ages of werehoused time, looms at us, looming within us like a falling sun whose tongue has painted the sky into a permanent mooring or penetrates like a soundless, rounded stain its tangible fingerprint, covers us over and over like a striated, sticky ocean of events whose skin has been lifted once out of itself, been patiently flayed and flensed and flamed out from its trapped retentive reflections, or like an exploded saint now without even a promised patron to his somehow promised name, and even one whose footprints are now walking away from us at a pace we cannot hope to match in the phosphorescent twitch of twilight in which we find him and bind him. But the message, with its waving banner of wind, hovers there over us, undulant in the ever-straightened air. It says: Grope, and you shall find. Whisper, and the weight and form and friction and fast frozen ice fields of these living after-imaged creatures shakes now shimmers and flows and flowers with us as the air parts its banner into its now dispersed, severally unaligned places and reveals our own now curious, almost question-marked shapes—assumptionless and uncontained as a fist of reconstructed air.

We have awakened (almost accidentally awakened and stretched our sour-lipped dreams on the very very cautious edge of a shifting and drifting, though casual, causality) as if there were others lying about and dreaming beside us (snoring as loud as the unshaped thunder that drapes us with its heavier blossoms of darkened sound), unfixed next to our now unlimned, unlimited limits, our fully amazed and hazy boundaries, boundless, accidental voices ripped out of us and hovering in the air (the summoned hand of air) that holds up our densely defended and delivered declaration (doubly indemnified!) and shocked, with an incremental and ecumenical and electrical recognition (re-cognition), shocked back backwards out of our huddled and Oh so humbled image and flung out into the unknown as yet self or selves (waiting in the long line of their preparation, waiting within the prepared for present), unsupported, driven mapless into our unplaced and irreplaceable selves, a kind of fashion show of appearing and disappearing selfhood.

Yes, the other beings for which we had not summoned up the assumptions are yet the unknown as yet occupants whose space and place and existence we share with them, entirely. Instead, we had grasped onto their reticulated and recumbent residuals, the ones that paid out their regular dividends at all the moments we had looked back onto them and turned ourselves to salt pillars empty of ocean, and whom we had made glaringly accurate with our pulses that tapped into our more than earlier ears the patriotically outlined declamation and declaration of a declared existence, here and now extending into the then and thenceforth. Declaration Day (indeed!) had been made in the image and impulse of the pulsing senses and now existed by pure exclusion and with the held at bay by a breath of pure (and purified) hope (and hope alone purified), alone suspended for a timeless moment outside our lives, (the waiting lives waiting for us to inhabit, whispering their possibilities into the unfed ear).

But one day (that day) we stepped out of the almost matter of factual moment and began to walk with nothing under our feet, walk out, perhaps, on the flicker of an open, omen-laden ocean, which, on its shifting, shore-lined limits, extends its long, limber lips as a precarious shelter or as an unintended, shifting shelter at all the homeless way stations (equal as it was to the wanderings of waves, to the flicker of purely spaced out moonlight), an ocean who whispered its shifting changes into us all shore-lined shapes and at once without pulse or precious pronouncement, like an overly full and wavering deck laid out on the table that holds our vacuum-cleaned and variously emptied existence or like a fanned out, flame-fed, yet uncountable, spectral rainbow painting our peristaltic intestines of apparent motion.

The assumptions were loosed, assumptions in and out of time and space. Inter-penetrative. Assuming the in-breathing exhalation of both the causal and acausal world. Somewhere between implosive adamantine and still to be invented evanescent. Unplaced within unplaced extremities. Placed (as another original portrait) within the unframed moment as the flash camera of summed up suns (brighter cannons opening a newer and newer space around us with their silent, continuous discharge) went off—puff, puff, puff—within that photographer’s studio with no primary or secondary walls that, ultimately, possessed no edges—to anything. Spaceless. Trapped within the unbudging, tugged at, timeless and edgeless world. And smiling for the camera with the curved tracings of the earth’s totally homed horizon, we were at once snapped into the edgeless other places in order to discover ourselves, here, queerly here.

And the sights, unaligned and unapportioned by any prior or recursively concordant consent, appeared and disappeared at untimed moments (their wicked blink) when we forgot the phantasmagoria and all too dependent zoo from which we had bared (and prepared) our thought and from where we thought out of it those planted places we had come from and come into, forgot the flashed projectiles of that projected parade passing and passing with its noise instantly turning to normative music, as we lifted the ironed out floorboards of our activated assumptions there below us (or wherever and whenever they might be). And the sights of this other bestiary, animal agents without numbers, tattooed onto them, and characteristics with which we could lift up the air-tapping tongue and taste together and snack at the odor of their hovering, rolled on, printed rumors and sniff at with in-blown whiffs as if the nose were licking a purely gaseous ice cream cone the size of a mountain, could lift up now and throw at the elastic walls of our own (ownerless) skin that animal world that entered us so effortlessly and also with the same always manageable gesture feel around and over and into the measureless skin of time and its time-tuned space and space-aligned time tuning itself, ticking its tapping drip dripping inside us, formed out of this freshened formlessness and gifted with our ownerless yet now opened power (our perfected, pulsing powerlessness) and all of them, these gradually appearing and disappearing shapes of living things now newly within us going about their own (always unowned) business with their now new-made accuracies (the powerlessness of the unfed palindrome).

I will tell you what they are, canceling out their meanings as they come to me, pass frictionless through me, and so timelessly vanish into the blink of each day or each moment or each momentary alignment we enter. They are many and beyond the counting of number. They exist anywhere between the unaligned states, anywhere and everywhere from the meek and mist-managed to the aggravatingly aggressively grippings of the nightmarish horse-riding plunderer of fleshed out flashed out remembrances (ragged flairs and flesh flashes everywhere fleeing from themselves), between the intelligence of easily formed atomic fields and meadows and sculpted inclined planes and distance-divided, formulaic families and familiarities and the carefully canceling out complexities that purely make and purely unmake all these preciously entranced ambits and activated, robotically aligned ambiguities.

Tame or wild, purely sound or soundless, amoebic in a whisper of worn out, watery motion (or spun out blurred out promotional potions and notions) or in every walking stick fixed and indistinguishable from the matter of matter itself that is tapped for security, they come and they go, tapping at things and testing their always new bodies for the answers of uncertainty (for all is uncertain), a temporary series of temporary poses or a cautiously continuous ragged and raging lineup as a never-ending and never-beginning, ongoing and always self-canceling event-fullness. All growl or all whisper. Or growl mixed with whisper. All thundering or even only a single, ever-straightening note. (All noted and never straightened thunder.) All pied with patches or all of a piece of patience or all of a piece of patient patches. All singular or all grouped in mazes or all mazed singularities. All blinking like stamped and stapled starlights on the ceilings of expectation or all equally pulsing at one single, radical, retroactive frequency. And all evolving as they had gone on covering shape with shape, tone with tone, color with color, time with time, and all, all falling into and out of their time-glazed assumptions, our assumptions, instantly or for no known time or time known to us, pulsing.

They are now here among us, beefy, blue turnip-shaped wheezers walking on one blue leg, like a blind amoeba protecting and projecting itself, effortlessly into its ever expanding blister, the tenuous skin of the entirely tenuous and entirely open unknown. They are here now among us as living candles that swim into gray-green light and go on softly surrendering themselves when they are soaked throughout and thoroughly throughout with an under-valued heavier and heavier blood drenched red (so we would think, so we would feel them, that heavier and heavier red, sinking through us with its silent sighing). They are also open-breathing, blasted out beasts in the shape of foul smelling, mephitic fountains (wilted, into limber, liquid flowers) that falling and falling and falling for their gravity paced and traced out lifetimes, suck themselves up into the arias of air around them, and, rising, blow their present palaces and pageants out again in inaccurately straightened puffs with the held together hearing of a sonically pure though partialized gesture. They are, again and again and left to live again and again, gray, ghostly milk cartons that wrinkle up the ambient air around them and afterwards reluctantly pour it out of its open pitcher as if they had wholly emptied themselves out of themselves, forever. They are infinitely shy and shifting birds in the shape of sheltering flocks and flecks of the all electric clouds that hardly move, seen only now with continually shattering spectacles, and thus, fall together into an amplified, puffed out rainbow of angularly fitted particulates. They are pulleys that reproduce themselves at will for will alone, for will alone wills it, or rather, from will (and will alone) comes their journey as they will themselves and all their offspring into being, onwardly extended (and leap with and within themselves into all their becoming), will themselves out from the immense womb they have willed into being, the home in which and through which they strangely range and change. They are sticky, purple creatures that co-exist within a hundred or more (within and outside of more than a hundred or more) generations as a single punctuated glow that gathers its signed over singed and scintillate sunsets and sunrises as it travels at random through its only randomized past (past them) that had ever existed until now and never into the illusory, projected future (never!) where only the the mytho-logical angels, carrying their angular scythes, disappear over the unsigned (and unassigned) cliff head of the continual, self-canceling present. They are creatures who have become, I say, literally become, ghosts of themselves in order to haunt their own existences and all the worlds they live inside (universally emptied occupants). They are creatures of accurate blow-back who have balanced the moment on the tip of their eyelash and have been created to game and frolic and gamble over every possibility all of their lives and who have taken on the heroic task of living, for, as they say, “Someone has to do it. Someone has to leap for once into it. Someone has to die for it, but at the last moment, or any moment, of course.” They are lone animals who continue to absolve themselves of all the sins they have invented in their invented, somewhat inverted past or even, as they go, invent whole and wholly dependent pasts for an added and lubricated lagniappe, for occasionally they may have many of them at once (some at once or all of them at once). They are diving devourers who eat the desperately dependent world they put in front of them, eat at all moments, and who invent also their own immense anuses, backward fixtures from which they pour out across their spacious skies vast, flowing clouds of transposable, incoming, retrograde realities or purposely reckless (and retrograde) irrealities (both equal to themselves). They are living penises that rise into living (and livid!) daylight and curl up into the winking twilight of their own frictionless making (the fluid assembly line) and sleep a little, until a little brushing, the faintest brushing of a slowly fainting voice, awakens them into their retrograde backwardness and they momentarily vanish into recollection. They are beings in the shape of red, heavy grapes that hang, pedantically, from the air and drop, like ripened tears, back into the porous and absorptive earth. They are blurred and furry flies (their tango an almost pure fuzz and buzz) in the shapes of almost transparent pink or pastel-primed and punctuated leaves (the leavings of terraced and tesserated trees) that group themselves like a single, almost stilled flame in the middle of air and its various airs and fluted atmospheres (loosed of gravity) and hold themselves into the shape of a fuzzy and buzzing bush (burning with all its irreconcilably righteous might), a blown out bush that is constantly growing, growing wider, wider and wider and wider and wider until it suddenly bushes out, blushes and bursts into its now hardened, now fragmented near-diamonds and glows for a moment in somebody’s (everybody’s) eyes. They are creatures like lemons, and they live on in the shape of lemons that squeeze themselves of their stinging tears and squeak (and squeak and squeak and squeak) and drift into (squeak and squeak into) odors of various intestinal peristaltic intensities and that have become, over the ages of amplitude’s down-drift into cloudy meadows (for they are immensely old), become, as they wheeze out their liquid lungs and lives, their own overly opening and closing noses, sniffing as they go and come and go, as if pulling into and out of themselves a rope of odor and braiding it as they go.

I say there are many of these and beyond the many, more and even more beyond the uncountable, even beyond number itself uncountable with all its numberless beginnings and endings, suspended yawning hesitations jerked into an apparent motion, unmoving and unannounced, the many collapsed into the one and the singularity collapsed into the interacting multiplicity. They keep on coming into us as if they had a home there and, as with many of them, inventing their own (unpatented) DNA (their home designed and home-brewed deoxyribonucleic acids, their own protein fits, their own self-styled chromosome addresses), their own knotted and drifting nucleotides, spinning their own occasion-driven, webbed (wobbly) proteins (ownerless), their own foreceably (ownerless), antequated alphabetic premises and their own open amniotic amino acids, into and out of their own past and past their own past and hence out of and into their own futures disappearing into a reversed transverse density, with rhythms that turn each slow page of their pronouncements into such opaque, clinging things as slowly creeping toward their projected edges and slowly retreating (creeping and retreating) as toward their ripped apart, apparent, growling glaciers, all with their own (patented) ownerless opening and closing ice ages and their own pre-recorded sounds and rounds and rounds of the subtle rhythms of their ever so, so slow movements or self-canceled out creasings and ever so cautious crepitations. I say they have formed whole evolutionary lines, wholly successful groupings of their own species, genus, family, class, phylum, kingdom. They have invented us, also, also at each of their own (yet ownerlessly) self-contained and self-emptying (never missed) moments and invented, in their own words and their own worlds, the reasons for our open and ownerless existence and also (as lagniappe) given us a deliberately imprecise place within them and, along with a place, an incautious end of the cliff head from which we leap into futurity and a deeper and deeper beginning, all arbitrary, and arbitrarily appointed, of course.

I say that you have them, too, the animals, these creatures each different, displaced into us, and each the same, each aligned and recognizable in their own flamboyant and disparate, deeply digested disguises, greeting and retreating, lifted and sifted and drifting through each of the liquid, echo-chambered centuries of their uncalculated exclamatory declaration. Declaration of an In Dependence beyond an independent declaration. Each with their own Declaration Day (and Declaration Night, also). Their own New Year’s Eve and their own morning after sickness vertigo spiraling into them (swallowing each day the pill of each sunrise). Each to his (her and its) own, and all shared among the multitudinous others until the merging and emerging appears to us like a dance made of moments and lifted out of moments, with music built into each of the particulated participants and a blended, wave-woven rhythm all its own (ownerless), the dance—but, of course, ownerless and still dancing; for who can own these self-canceled, self-collapsing changes, these unclassifiable species that spin us into their loomless fabric looming inside them and that come and go, freed and frictionless, as a temporary part of our own temporary edge of edgelessness. No one but everyone. No place but every place. Grouping and dispersed or like a blurred, buzzing hover-crafted conversation instantly communicated crackling and cast into and beyond all the bundled about and accumulated and acclimated distances and all their falsified boundaries, forever, as we travel with and within the whole continually created zoo (suspended in all our surrounds) and are the zoo which no one has captured and which still, and always will, continue to achieve it own (ownerless) propelling (and co-compelling) identity.

And, to begin with (within the catalog of breakdowns and breakouts we have invented for our self-propelling purposes), among the birds (first!), there also pass before and through us dozens of continuously carved reincarnations of reincarnations turning into and outward through the air of an always accurate invention. I shall give only a few scattered bits and flakes of these all but specious species—the catalog grows out of its pages and is, indeed, immense. The Diamond Reflecting Angular Birds (diamantum angularus) come to mind in the mind’s eye and its outward ocean (and elsewhere to the resourceful optic nerve and the sum of its earlier retrogressions), who flying, always, in zig-zagged, graphed and graphic patterns (trends all their own, lightly reticulated and the light as a pure and patient patina glowing through the air) skim within the two-dimensional world in a kind of angular stippled rippling, move, purposelessly, through their discontinuous reflective continuities, in unalignable spacial jerks and their abrupt angular effacements of all prior writing on the intergalactic air through which they pass so regularly decided in their geometrically winged migrations and whose calls are also purely, and also abruptly, angular and intersect like folded pieces of air in the all-absorbing hands of the listener learning to be still and still among them as through their rictus of advancing and contractual space they design their accordion shapes to play out the aria of air’s now floating windows.

There is (next without order) also The Great Quaking Atom Fitted Quark Catcher (factus est quisicus heisenbergius), with its wide, improbable mouth that, grinning, gobbles up, in unascertainable space and time, all those over-accurate and sustainable certainties that come to it hopping, hoping, at least, for something on which to pin their vibrating, totally tonal existences and are, in the process of their vibrating (atonal) digestion and for the purpose of temporary extended stability, turned into firmly existing probabilities, and thus existing as efficiently roving sentinels, able to command more than one place at more than one time.

The Ever Collapsing Aerial Creepers (felix forfortunatus mellifluous cicrix), those small, flapping bits and pieces of negatively reflected air, fold and fold and fold (forever) the old, oil-distorted, water-stained rainbows into intricate patterns of gradually porous and lovingly languorous lassitude and reproduce by folding into themselves and reappearing, like involuted and grinning topologists pulling a nude (but conventionally nude) woman out of an impossibly unconventional, mathematically steamy cake.

The Brobophile Multiplying Babblers (minivocus convolvulus brobophilius) congregate within one another’s involuted syntactic space to invent (and never to increate without the restoration of ambitious purposes) various unlearned languages (both pre-existent and instantly pre-invented ones) and proceed to disentangle their almost atrophied syntactical twists and turns and all but abrupt beginnings and all but faded endings (and all but divided middles), pecking at them like the dahvaning oil wells of robins pulling their rubbery worms out of the rained upon, glistening soil and turning them into undulant and fully growing, luminous worm galaxies which eat and eat away the formless tunnels of darkness out there within.

Carson’s Documentary Overleaf (spectrus carsonius), in its frantic, prime-mating, primitive hunt for printed (printable) words to eat with gourmet relish and pass through its spacious, glittering, intestinal walls and therefore converse with and therefore transform into nuggets of purified, organized intelligence, pulls up the other unknowable sides of things (their unknowable sliding backsides) in the process of devouring its prey, in unfractured fact, pulling up into it whole facts and factoids out of the factitious earth, along with an abrupt sentence or two that takes on meaning slowly as it is slowly swallowed and then begins to speak.

Montwell’s Flicker Fasteners (lignus lignitius montwellium) leave, in their generous passings over the trans-apparent eyelids of awakened lakes, bright flakes of phosphorescence aligned to their gently pulsing wake without waiting a moment for the accumulation of already useless, thus already repeated miracles; for they know, instinctively, that all is miracle and all is replaceable, miracle with miracle, the muscle of miracle flexed with and into its extinctions, the aliveness of events that will always go unnamed and assume innumerable disguises.

The Unclaimed Baggage Bird (valisius non-factum et non transportabilis) is notorious, during the dry (and further drying) seasons in the continually shifting region of the Middleflow Wallpaper National Reserve Protective Boundrylands, for unfolding and refolding the leftover (and straying) “memory bags” of the various and varied migrant visitors to this “prepared” wonder (a former earth fill or formerly reformed land fill or “artificial” ant hill) and lifting them out of their dread-locked decay, carrying and dispersing their now ample seeds over the cities and settlements of the surrounding land (abounding with both preservation and depredation) and thereby “releasing” memories into some instant preconceived, actual existence.

Gander’s Groping Locked Graylag Pseudo-Goose (gandagampus fluidocius flagitelius gagolot gandosius grandiosius) lives as a migrating pretender to the actual gray lag geese, “hitching” a long-distance ride within their arrow-pointed and arrow-painted, direction-bent flock for the purposes of “over-discussing” the “un-footed” terrain over which it passes and in this way gathering knowledge of where it may wish itself to permanently settle and raise a family and “negotiate” the surrounding countryside for the purpose of gathering up the lost cries of the Greylag Geese and feeding them to its offprint, who then learn the route they must follow (the talk and pseudo-squawk of raucous goslings). An imitator, but, moreover, a creator, of “self-drawn out dialectic distances” (clanging against each other as they go) their all but brazen behaviors (always dealing from the bottom of the behavioral deck) are used (and carefully abused) as practical strategies for its survival.

Finally, to end this lengthening list at its arbitrary cliff head of extra and extra-ordinary avian eventfulness, I mention, finally, The Safe Cracker Bird, or fibonacci’s fate flickerer (morobundus absolutus precursis) who pulls its flash-fashioned combinations, its gargantuan glints of recursive recognition, out of already emptied and therefore unfertilizable flowers (especially the varieties of exhausted, empathic lilies imprinted, as they always have been, with an exuberantly overburdened ambiance) and “shifts the cards”, so to speak, of their reproductive fate, leaving the pollen laden burden (and promise) of each plant to form from the trusted earth itself (and from no other source) and rise out of it into its already released reproductive patterns.

But the over-class (or the “expanded class of amplitude”, as it is so called) of the always more vast class of insects (“glamorous, hidden, and variously vast”) contains far the greatest and most distributive number of named (and unclaimed) types (though we believe the unnamed varieties are immensely greater and waiting to be called into descriptive existence). To begin (but not to begin at the beginning, for our regression is endless), the restless configurations of the manifold and many-folded species and sub-species of the Creative Suicidal Inventor Wasps (hartshorn’s cornucopia) live to spin designs into their resonant (rusting) nests of sound and leave each of them with a non-standard decibel-to-decay ratio as well as a filmy, almost “flimsy” one might say, lace-like residue (a super-modified and over-fermented pollen), an ostentatiously ornate (often replayed, yet seldom displayed) splayed out sonic afterimage (always with its accompanying before-image), a residual which may, it has been often and variously suggested, be taken up (freely and without permission, for there is no permitter), by other distantly related species, and “overborne” (“over-wafted”) to distant dissimilar landscapes, there to propagate with impunity and to decay into and through their chosen earth, like a vast out-breathing of time and space always in a mixed moment of momentous motion, finding there a temporary “local habitation and a name”.

Calligula’s Co-Combatant Clashing Appendages (fulgurificant flashuronius calligulans) appears only on days of the blue moon (the third translucent moon of the lost third month) in modest mock martial array—leaf-spun helmets topped and pocked with starlight, lavender-colored and scented dyes on its mounted (and often artificially extended) wings, a dense graphite sixteen pointed star “woven” into its abdomen, purely for aesthetic reasons (although who can tell if there are no further reasons), and full spectrum, light-tipped lances with eyelids that wink at the world and turn the whole rounded galaxy off and on and off and on (and off again) to reproduce an artificial day and night from these stiff, straightened, stain-filled and staring glow worms—all these palliative pageants employed by Calligula’s Co-Combatant Clashing Appendages created, out of a kind of instinctive, ringing nothingness, in order to frighten (and delight) and excite and put to flight any potential predators that may, unknown to its own intentions (and the intentions of other such insects), wander in a dream-drifting daze (for all careen about in a purely effervescent, scintillant daze) onto these densely packed swarmings of rather peaceful flying semi-termites, whose martial displays are only a hint in the sniffed out catalog of their other olfactory possessions and unalignable possibilities which proceed their definitions.

Clag’s Inchworm Greasers (oleoporus glaucus perspicans), a tiny but powerful mite of the order adactilidium atacium, among its other numerous and particulate activities, measures the world it lives in to a fearfully accurate but continuous and more and more accurate correction, varying, within its reached for tactical exactitude, only one-hundred thousandth of a centimeter (or less, some say) per year as it creeps over the absolutely and deliberately self-flattened world it has made to inhabit and through which it has defined itself as it moves, or rather, as it prepares its moves, for its centralized purpose is to look before it leaps, for a slightly mistaken distance may mean an unmeasurable disaster, a fate equal to or greater than death itself, and thus the plan becomes, through its intricate adjustments and preparatory projections, far more important than the actualized act, and, in the set piece at the center of its ritual rehearsal, its preparatory retrogression, replete with its continually fined down accuracies, determines the precision of the act itself and therefore the very accurately set lifetime of this determined calculator, Clag’s Inchworm Greaser.

The Left to Themselves Leafcutters (lenguafactum extensis unfoldium et unifoldium) have been known to lick the left-over odors of the larger animals they congregate among (bears, wolves, antelopes, skunks, possums, etc.) from the air which passes upward from them as a rumor of larger, more subtlized (subsidized) events beyond their certainly insightful ken, even beyond their own intimate, immediate and unmediated imagination. But the odors remain uncleansed, unwiped, and generally unsampled and are therefore cleaned by the relatively lengthened tongues of this so-rapacious an insect, which has the added benefit of reducing, though not eliminating, predation among and against those with whom it exists in so reciprocal a biological arrangement; for, if they could speak, that would say, “All odors also have to be disposed of, or mitigated in some manner, and what better, what more mutually beneficial arrangement is this, and thus we serve ourselves as we serve these others.”.

As a final contribution I mention Duhicky’s Hiccoping Calliper (saltus angulus duhiccia), which, at its full maturity, resembles most closely a pair of architect’s calipers and walks (at times leaps) in imitation of them, moving from side to side (and end to end) in a sudden, somewhat unprepared and irregular, jerked out motion, its perfect, almost geometrical front leg still (or stilled) for a moment and suddenly its back leg pulled around in a seemingly awkward forward thrust. It captures its prey in a singularly odd manner by leaping with both its “legs” fully into the air and bringing both together to press its potential meal between its fully, now forcefully, gathered “walking sticks”, paralyzing them with an injected “stunner” for a bare moment until it can spread its variably adjusted legs and devour its prey from above.

It is necessary at this moment, and for obviously practical reasons, to omit the familiar class of mammals from our descriptions, since they have been so well represented in the previous accounts and will appear again (indeed, have appeared) in other more densely packed descriptive pages. Now, I press outward, like another singularity bursting at the “seems” (for how else would it burst?) and expand my account to other dimensional arrangements, those, however, still aligned with, but differing from, these previously described appearances invented out of the void. Now I say to you the following: that, although an illusion believed by many through what may be called an act of faith, the ever falling upon us future invented for somewhat practical purposes as a protracted and projected illusion, can be anticipated as a kind of full screen motion picture (always, guaranteed of course, in full color, full motioned, eye surround and unselective cinerama of the widest well dipping into the widest, wildest sky), an extravaganza of momentary rumors out of which we may pick and pick and pick, at our ever-expanding leisure, examples from and beyond the numerous wide ranging phyla and kingdoms and clustered classes already so meticulously described, pick out new phyla and new kingdoms, new species and new classes and families and orders and genera being created and culled from all the probability fields instantly all over and beyond an instantly existing (yet never pre-existing) space and for our own elaborate delectation, jerked together in both bold and subtly frightful surprise as well as through an almost unexamined quietness (surprising, as well), and effortlessly extracted out of the measurelessly vast unknown, although all these may be done and done in over and over in a continual process of in-vention and re-invention, they amount to nothing more than the resurrection of possibility, even to the form-fitted actual, but more in the reality of passing glances, of the ever-changing, ever-ranging world or creation and re-creation..

I shall describe what comes to me at the moment of their appearance with only a slight delay of immediately accurate verbal translation, for it cannot be otherwise. First, there appears to me what I now call Terror Transitives or Verb Variances and to which I give the purely common name of Reasoner’s Robotic Sub-resonances or just plain Cleansweepers (in the pejorative sense that inseparably accompanies it). These Terror Transitives haunt the obvious, for they have a nose for it and it alone; yet in their perfect and undistorted appearance, twitching in an anti-gravity all their own, they exist as sixteen foot golden preying {Sic.?) mantises with over-extended purple, blurred, inter-compounded eyes and fully transparent feet (fourteen of them gathered together and ready to propel the body toward its sight-locked, primary targets), those pre-set feet remembered at the moment of leaping. They seem to function as sensitive erasers of the deliberately obvious, effacing any statements (in fact, all statements) which we cannot immediately recognize and call into active awareness for our immediately identifiable purposes since they are embedded (and embodied and ingrained and intractably irretrievable from their unknown sources), embedded, I say, behind our quantum leaping assumptions in a room that does not exist, or they exist in a custom accorded state, one might say, previous to their existence. They use their immensely agile and fluid ovipositors to simultaneously suck out and rub across the shapes and shadows of the overwhelmingly obvious, leaving in their wake (for there is a created wake or “awakening” a “trace of implication”), for only an unmeasured moment, an ordinary “common a garden” emptiness that “yearns to remain” itself (incapable of retaining itself), a somewhat useful over-sized insect (however, with perhaps impractical mammalian measurements) but up to the point of its usefulness, where it does not completely obliterate the more than usefully obvious, the unexamined, pristine world we create by choosing not to enter it.

The Sliding Othersiders or (its common name) Pancake Flippers are now becoming clear to me as I describe them now to you, fresh and fleshless as the moment of their instant creation. They resemble—I see them now with more than my eyes—a pair of perfectly flat and deliberately widened but end-sharpened scissors (more, in fact, widely rectangular), or rather, they more closely resemble both hands stretched forward and pressed together at the wrists (like a mouth with two jaws) whose purpose it is to grasp the fronts and backs of things (that is, all things that can be grasped, for some cannot) and turn them over onto their utterly unseen backsides, thereby revealing what has never been revealed before (these unknowable backsides of things), and placing the “revealed” side downwards, to become, newly, the formerly unknown and the yet to be discovered object, a variety of unwritten text on which no ceremony of commentary may be elaborated.

The Raindrop Grasping Water Mouse (its anatomical name, newly appearing in the now extending nomenclature, under the anatomical name of mus pincicus hydropsia) comes forward, carefully, shyly, toward me crawling over its fully intended and extended world view, in fact, crawling on its overextended, shadow, using it for its many purposes but most as a slippery carpet or slightly tilted surface to move over variously tilted gravitational planes, propelling itself toward the “awakened” raindrops from which it chooses one or another as a convex looking glass in order to know itself in some extended magnitude (or amplitude), a kind of or a product of, a more than sudden, strictly sight-filled awakening, for it cannot know itself by means other than the ultimately practical one it uses. Only, from time to time, it overextends its desire for its image, or its co-correspondent, and bursts the raindrop bubble, instantly collapsing its conversational counterpart, and must again seek out another, hopefully perfect raindrop of its own choosing, that is, to find itself again.

The Furry Extenders are the next to present themselves to me, and their anatomical name, like a long and always strictly curving tail, follows it into existence. It is, yes, it is, gropius et extensis relaxus peludis, and, as I see, it truly deserves its names, both anatomical and now, actual. It resembles a kindly pure sunlight lifted from gravity’s invisible in-breathing or a heated and ever-sifted touch; for it exists solely as touch and in contact, always in contact with spectral surfaces of varying kinds and volumes—roughened touch, for example (the collapsed bark of an elm tree), granular touch (a beach over which sunlight observes it in its natural state), the touch of rounded roving surfaces (a spinning piston coated with warm, dark, aromatic oil), the touch of cold, smooth, refractive demons with added, complementary dimensions (four dimensional ice ages coming and going), the touch of surfaces combined in varying tactile configurations (many, more, and multiplying), and, of course, others yet more obvious and yet more subtle, but especially surfaces which resemble the unextracted and electric fur of the more northernly animals—mink, otter, silver fox, Arctic fox, raccoon, bear, beaver, weasel, etc. Their being is perfect to the touch, is all touch, all of it grasped in the total glowing glove of skin, and contains no other extension—at least none is apparent on this first encounter, and reveals to me a world in which we may bury our skin and skinscape into a kind of dimensionless odor, even an odor of touch, and into a kind of dimensionless skinscape that has no remaining afterimage and whose entrance is extensive and suggestive of wider worlds beyond it.

The next future creature which comes to me as clearly as birth comes to me is now being called by its true name, The Rolling Center or circulus centrix robustus, which remains a pure contradiction or hovering impossibility; for how can a center “roll”, (though the image is latent within it) or travel out of its definition, since by our definition, or by any definition at least, centers are meant to stay in one place, fixed down and fastened, and remain logically attached to the spheres of all their logical footstepping footprints, which they fall out of only at their ultimate peril—fall out of at all costs and consequences, of course. But this Rolling Center (circulus centrix robustus) does move from specified place to specified place “leaping between the interstices”, being here at one moment of configuration and there at the next with no intervening space or moment or movement, like an aggressively roguish electron that has leaped instantly into its larger orbit. But the Rolling Center is, I tell you, a truly living being who pulses with the expanding warmth of its instant identity yet exists in a center all its own, everywhere, and creates a center everywhere; and when you look into it you look through it thoroughly, feeling the surrounding and abounding infinite circles which it creates in concentric pulses out of its perhaps multiple (and perhaps multiplying) existences. They come to me, at this instant, fully formed, trailing their smoothly pulsing idiosyncrasies like the lost cries of pigeons reflected in the ears of outer space or the almost graspable moaning of doves just below the boundaries of sight.

I cannot stop them. They have a momentum all their own, an ineluctable entrance all their own. Therefore, I will briefly describe one more of these suddenly whole and all but complete animals of the mind who will and have become animals of both the mind and the body, and that is the Four Dimensional Brooding Pacer, a native truly brooding hen of southern Madagascar, ambiantus baccus et forthus, a hen the size of a mouse, with a four inch beak and a balancing four inch tail, bobbing and swaying as it pecks and hunts, like any other hen we have seen but which reaches down further into the earth for its choicer gems, the great dental worm (for example) which borrows down inside small, irregular pebbles in the soil and hollows out from them its home-darkened cavities and is pulled out with great effort by the long and narrow beak of the Four Dimensional Brooding Pacer, as it also pulls out the many Cincinatti Silvery Sour Bugs (argentum cincinatus), who curl up into hardened pellets and are dislodged by the long beak of the Four Dimensional Brooding Pacer (also referred to in its alternate scientific name of pedus oscuritas per pedus quatrus), and the Tripartite and Undergrounded Clay Transforming Wasp (vispus sub terrus transformus) which helps improve the consistency of the soil by fluffing and puffing up the earth in clouds around it with its muscular wings, all in the act of cleaning itself with the dust it makes of the earth that now so lightly covers it. But the Four Dimensional Brooding Pacer’s principle purpose is to create straight, short trenches in the forest, which it so skillfully inhabits by pacing out the earth for months, scraping scattering it with its powerful webbed feet into a deliberately rectangular design and packing it down neatly and scraping away and also polishing the sides of its own gradually opening grave (I say grave, for this, I announce to you, is its grave) with its long and dexterous beak, and brushing away with its bushy rectangular tail the residue dust of earth it has so perfectly loosened. And in this way the Four Dimensional Brooding Pacer prepares for its own death (thus owned entirely). But who will cover its grave when the bird is ready for its inevitable death, it asks me? Who will erect the memorial marker, and who will morn over it for months, tending it each day and keeping it free from beetles and leaves and spiders and meat eating ants and especially from the more adept predators, like the Linked Soapsucker whose favorite food is the Four Dimensional Brooding Pacer, dead or alive. Who, of course, but the several offspring of this so industrious bird, the only hen yet known (though there may be many on the way) that prepares its own death and its own posterity to guard its tenacious reputation.


Sid Gershgoren

Sid Gershgoren has published six books of poetry and prose: The books of poetry: Negative Space, Mutual Breath (a book of 65  villanelles), Symphony (a medium long poem in a "symphonic" form), Through the Sky in the Lake (a book of "lines"), The Wandering Heron (a book of haiku), and two prose works, Past Rentals (a fictional "catalog" of a company that rent its "customers" space, place, and situation in a particular area of the past within a particular time, place, and situation), and The Extended Words (an imaginary dictionary). Sid Gershgoren has published widely in various magazines and anthologies. 


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2017

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