Automat - Edward Hopper, 1927
Balloons For Sale - Charlotte Kelley, 1984
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Late to the game:
A memorial service will be held for the family of Dwight Howard, who tragically perished in a house fire after Howard forgot to clean out the LIN TRAP!
Somebody had better find a donor for Kobe's bone marrow transplant because he's just been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin LINPHOMA!
The ref's gonna be calling travelling on LeBron James because he just got transferred to LINCINNATI, OHIO, a city so depressing that I'll bet LeBron SLINTS HIS WRISTS within the month!
Crocodile tears are tears a crocodile cries
To play upon your sympathies, to take you by surprise
To kill you with its teeth for having cared about its eyes
The trick to be a lion-tame is never to forget
To be a tamer and naught else, and thus eschew regret
So when the pearly curtains close, that is, when jaws divorce
Your head and trunk, and reckless blood escapes & drapes & pours
And as the light dims and you take a bow to the abyss
The chair and ring's the only things (except your skull) you'll miss
Remember Paper Tiger, thin as sheet but brass as bold
Who bent the truth with shadowplay to increase in the fold
While Croc was busy crying, Tiger crowed some not-so-meek
And though he wasn't Lion, he had pride to tell a streak
The orange & black of candleflame & shadow on the floor
Did dance a forth-&-back as Tiger amplified his roar
But Tiger didn't notice how the candle lick'd & spat
So now we have these ashes in the vague form of a cat
The fourth trajectory:
With a battered, toe-dug boottread, Poplar stopped at the sound. His hollow breath hellered a slow cut as the noise accordianed up and down the tunnel. It was low, and herded the ear like a swift dog in sharp, soft coat.
Lo, the ground, thought Poplar. He bent, just aslight. It was My's voice, he was madly sure, caressing the tunnel walls (wall, really, it being a round tunnel) through the dark vodaer.
'Low the ground, the air is cooler/Low, the ground, and shakes above/'Llow the ground, "Forget the Birdsun"/Lo, the ground, my love.
Poplar waited until the last echo died to step on. His bright eyes stabbed to affront the tar vodaer as his belted, layered legs swam through.
What fools were his brothers, let left themselves above in the choke. He had a glance upward at the pitch ceiling of the tunnel and slipped, silent, a word for the each of them, surely dead on the fool, burnt surface of the Birdbelly. His brothers who had been. Once were we're, now just were.
Sew'd. Bath'd. Orn'd.
Just words, now, hard and hardly spoke and wheeled into the tunnel. Echoing, hardly, against the hum of My.
Further, he heard her and smiled as he trudged the tunnel. He knew she couldn't've been gone, just ducked under by that fell'd 'scraper. Not crushed, only pressed through the dirt into the tunnels below. Where he would find her in the dark.
Poplar smiled and then a new sound came from the birdsoil around him.
SOUGHT WAS IT.
AND EATEN WAS IT.
Sod, was it, that began to list on Poplar's shoulders like dark ash. The sound, the voice, had startled the tunnel and it was a worry, for once, in him that the cave might be in for it.
And, true, did the grit corridor crumble and pill apart. But not in and upon poplar, out and away it shot.
Poplar shut his eyes when it happened. When the birdsoil above him crumbled upward, fast and hard, with a shock gallop of soursick wind and grit made of a crusted yellow, if a color has a crust. The ceiling flew skyward and apart and left Poplar in a clawed-out pit. A crater created backwards, from a flown floor flung above.
When he was sure the sound had unspoken, he spoke a peek. The sky, the horrible buildings, the birdcity, and he was in it, again.
A hallow sound bellied from him and he fell, half flinging his wont to the birdsoil. Tears tore at his mad eyes as his claws tore the ground, flying grit and clod above him like the exploded soil had just.
And he dug. And he dug. And he dug.
The third trajectory:
Woke, with a start, from a dream about a train. Took a hard look at the day. A few prodded, heavy breaths and he was able to suss the bulge of it, cleave the parts dreamt from the parts here, now, and get going, in a pop, right away. Able to round off the shelf and stand up, shove a hand-kerchief from the vodaer bucket into his mouth and press a wet print onto the revolving door of the druggist's, pivoting out into another hard and dusted day.
Morning or whenever, was it. There wasn't time of day, for now. The light from the sun was blocked and poured, melted around the orb through the smog so much that it hung shining as equal spread around as the starlight, a dull lamp behind a blanket. The sky kept a dusky amber alla time, like the Bird ate a bucket of sand and had held in the fart. Orn looked up and closed his eyes. Orn imagined it was nighttime, and the stars'd died, and the city inside the Bird had not. Orn crossed the road.
Orn crossed the road. Painted glassgrit rubbed a shuffle under his boots. Orn enjoyed the roads, as they were still around and, in his mind (for its worth), wouldn't be razzled and puzzled about like how had the trains and the people and the buildings ('cepting the Sistern). The roads still streched their clay same-as-alls and evers, when he graded on across.
He didn't cross full and quick, right away. He measured his eyes back-to-forth on the hid-cracks where maybe were shiftmines. Then he looked up aqainst the pale-painted sky that'd been stuck acloud with the Dyauscars muddling the up and rummaging through the wide airs, sucking up the breath, little that was left, he could tell you, and swinging their tan-orange shots down upon without warning that'd been like the like that took off Kates and Dilan.
Orn crossed the street and something struck him in the shoulder. It came, falling, like a rock and bounced into the break of the fractured clay road. It was as gentle as a meteorite could be, crumbling him to the ground and skittering without craterage, like a stone skipping 'cross the bundled road. He pulled the wet band that wrapped his brow out and down, like a held pair of sunglasses, and peered at the missile.
It was a bird.
It was a bird, which would not be a Thing of Note to most anyone. Birds die a lot of the time. Certain, is held, that they do not die mid-air oftenly. Nor do they posthumously alight upon pedestrians, following the tremendously rare death-in-flight that they almost never encounter. Birds do, however, die a lot of the time. Especially in a city.
But not, so much, do they, if the significant city happens to be located in a bird, itself.
Orn was hit in the shoulder by a small bird. And he peered at it. And he peered. And he peered.
Then, immediately adjacent to it, without abutting, Orn lay in the empty road next to the bird, having fainted and mumbled about something sounding like "Rest." Then something else mumbled. Grumbled, was more like it. And loud, that.
FELLED WAS IT.
AND EATEN WAS IT.
Felt, was it, by the road that a burden much heavier than a dead bird and a faint man had been lifted from the sky and laid onto it. If the road'd had the poor sense to breathe it would have done it then, hard and slow. And out. Being the road, however, it retained the two, still figures recumbent upon it and, itself, lay. And it lay. And it lay.
The second trajectory:
The smell of the burnt city was awful.
It smelled like defiled sand being smelt into rough, brackish glass. Like a tire had farted out a belt of breeze come from float just above a standing marshwater, surface thick with dead, rot-hole leaves blown in from the felled trees.
So very fouled was it, Sewright knew, that it would choke any sole who poured, still, through the broken streets. He could not, although, smell it himself in the Dyauscar which floated over the grand, ruined city of Volae. In the synthetic, recycled atmosphere of the Dyauscar, the air smelled the same, always. Sewright sometimes swore that he could, though it was impossible, given the mad precision of the ship's vodaer filters, catch a waft, here and there, of the burn and the dust of broke rock from below. In the air, sometimes, when he closed his eyes, he could feel Batham there. The bastard. Hidden for so many years by the vodaor, the cruel gift from their B'Ufan that had kept his coward brother enshrouded for so many migrations.
Aeons had been spent breaking down, through the curtain of vodaor, the thick, wet air which bordered his brother from him. To sift through the sap breath had taken pains and deaths immense and immeasurable. Now he hovered at Batham's door, but the threshhold of the Cisturn was a galaxy's length to cross. Within the impenetrable ziggurat, his brother was as distant as the belly of the Living Well.
Sewright would get through, though. No matter the cost of penetrating the Cisturn, the heart of the vodaer. A marbled ire swam through him and he sat on the deck of the bridge, just behind the undulating portal, searching for a space, a gap, to pry open the edifice. He closed his eyes. A voice bellowed from below.
PRIED WAS IT.
AND EATEN WAS IT.
Pride, was it? Or obsession? No, only the confidence of inevitability. The patience to re-cover the steps of one's other. To track and to wait. Sewright opened his eyes and searched the tower below, feeling its corners and slopes, its precipitous brows and broad, swinging shoulders. His gaze dug into the furrow of it, the height and the heft of the thing and the thing inside the thing. He sat, searching. And he sat. And he sat.
*To His Excellency, Ronnus Johannason, we will never forget you
End of chapter whatever
"We will not be killing him, as such spoken," the professor said as he squinted and pulled, by the tweezerful, wood from her palms.
"The intention is..." he looked directly into her eyes and so much ran, was run, through her. What had they done? What will they do? What will become? Nothing just once, she was sure of, if not entirely clear on. "The intention is to learn more about, um," he looked suddenly distracted, though not breaking eye contact with the tIssue. Then, his eyes dove back into the maligned microscope.
"...more about intention."
He pulled another minute plank from her hand.
Allow me to intervene.
What they mean to do, what the intention is, is to kill Jonathan. Sort of.
The idea is that dead is that which is what isn't being is, and, so, one is dead before one is and dead since one has been. Thus, staying good alive is the simple task of eschewing the seemingly encompassing shores of being dead and, thus, relenting the sea of life around and out to meet itself at all tides. In a bicameral sense of Life: gouge out the camera mortem and death turns out to be a blind eye.
They'll kill John, but not for good. Although, he won't be back the same. He'll be curved (cured, they'll say). Like curled. Like turning a corner. Like drift-dead wood that's sailed a sea with no end to its break and wake and worry. Like going crooked in a brook.
And he'll come back in all ages (which are one) and in all oneness (which is none (which is every (which are onenesses))) and the void will see itself (selves) in the singularity. In the broke, ruined Ruisseau (ruisseaus) that time streams (metaphorically, of(f) course) through with you.
Spoiler alert, btw.
And we're off.
The first trajectory:
Batham stood, stock. He was a capable tor, immovable by the brick-hard wind. The better of him, today, would not be gotten.
Looking over the baluster of the Cisturn, Batham watched the dozen nimbi of Dyauscars ripple in the hot sky of imminence, like a billow of beetles. Their kettle bellies swung into threat and back out to bait effect. Their hammerbarrels swung, seeming swollen with anticipation. Batham looked away in stony disconcert. In hid fear.
Down, the world was sand and brown and gray. The city was a tumble of broken teeth and stalagmites. Reaper dust swept around the once-grand buildings like a panther hunting for anything that still pumped red. The metropolis of the grandest Bird in the Volary was a smear of coal, now. Even the navy sky was dull in the drab evening, dull further from the metal of the airships. The setting sun was wet clay. Ugly grit molested Batham's mouth and he spat. He turned to the Cisturn and watched the undulating vodaer that stood at the gape of the open, glass shutters. The panes were freckled with glittering light, even in the dim sunset and the filthy, gunmetal sky. Behind him, Batham heard a voice.
FOUND WAS IT.
AND EATEN WAS IT.
Found, was it, that the gamut of life could be run through with ease. Less like a length of course and more like an ill-fate of the rapier, of course (au fait). Batham turned and gripped the baluster. His eyes paced the ruined ground, the tin-soaked sky. His eyes did not weep, for the dessicant of the heat and the dust. He stood, searching. And he stood. And he stood.
INT. The wooden room. One of the walls has been removed entirely. In its place is a hard void. It is ignorable/unignorable.
YUPSEMEL, now, sits. YUPPOSTUNUM, now, paces.
The missing wall, the empty place, is, mostly, by the characters, avoided.
Loss, I say, is the bastion against tomorrow. Eat, drink & cetera.
For tomorrow, we dine.
So drink. And marry. And save your appetite. There is a pair & a place & a time & a turn and none of which is any with which to bother. There is a hole in the wall, there, and I spoke to it.
I am hungry. Or just tired.
YUPSEMEL looks up from his post.
Neither is possible. You are nothing. You were expulled from the place that isn't anywhere. It's, were you're, from.
Were I nothing, we would be done. Or, at least, would I.
MANY THINGS stand.
Done: to be nothing. And then It would be here. Yes, Yuppostunum, I see. Savor your appetite.
YUPPOSTUNUM sits on the ground. Also, he looks at It.
I'm still hungry, I think.
YUPSEMEL fishes a carrot stick from his pocket. He leads it to YUPPOSTUNUM.
And, ergo, you are.
YUPPOSTUNUM rises and takes the carrot stick from YUPSEMEL. He regards it, pivoting the thing and craning his head about its angles, like looking around a tree.
One for me.
(He takes a bite of the carrot stick.)
And one for my home.
(He hurls the rest into the void.)
There is a report like a branch that is the size of its own tree breaking, followed by the brustle of wheat being shook together. Another wall becomes (was always) void. YUPSEMEL stands and YUPPOSTUNUM cowers, putting his hands on the ground. They look at the new void. They look at each other. They look at each other. They close their eyes.
Have they done?