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seasons of creature

“But there are some who declare that such creatures of two sexes are monstrosities, and coming rarely into the world as they do they have the quality of presaging the future, sometimes for evil and sometimes for good.”

― Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 1st century BC.

“Suppose someone were to say: ‘Imagine this butterfly exactly as it is, but ugly instead of beautiful’?!”

― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Zettel, 1889-1951

We were swallowed whole and there we were, warm and inside, with the breath of that creature reaching over everything.

Our city was captured, a crash site covered in skin. 

There was no exit or escape, every echo was an earthquake about to erupt, each exhale was a heat wave waiting for us. 

The outcome was over already, we were the creature’s city now.

We woke up to stomachfuls of wrecking balls, wet food, worn debris.  One storm after another, scattering against our shingles and gathering gray hair on the ground. 

The city called it the creature’s rain, they collected it in their cellars and their stairwells, they carved their names into the cement it made.

You watched me there, collecting what remains I could, keeping myself unkilled in the creature’s cartilage.  

Your eyes were on strings, swinging from a ceiling I couldn’t see.  Your eyes were wide as white flags, watching me.

This city here, the one we’ve been left in, it’s a residual collapse, a heavy gasp.  In the distance, the shape of it seems dimly scribbled against the inside of the creature, like the sketch of a spent explosive, it sprawls and then it shivers and then it sprawls some more.

The most of us that survived stuck to the center of the city, in small rooms in short skyscrapers, we searched for shelf lives that stayed just out reach. 

Beneath the buildings, the creature’s ground was cold, coffee-colored, full of fault lines that caught fire whenever the fevers came.     

You kept matchbooks in your pockets and I copied you.  I rubbed gunpowder on my palms to get them pale like yours.  I untrapped my hands as close to you as I could.

You told me maybe there were enough fault lines here to find us again.  You said sooner or later the motion sickness might miss us both.

We spent the first season scavenging the creature for a skeleton key.

I searched in shrapnel piles and stolen terrain, I said over and over there had to be a way out of there. 

Day after day, the creature’s rain wouldn’t stop painting us the way we truly were.  

Each time I looked at you and your hair was heavier and darker.  The build-ups in your breath came and went like birds stealing bread.  

Your skin stayed sheet-white and still hid the stage whispers from me.

I was your hang-wire, your hiding place.  I was your charade of ways to count backwards from the couple we didn’t become.

Our city stayed a knot in the creature’s stomach, a choke hold you couldn’t stop choosing over me.  If there ever was a key, it couldn’t keep me from remembering it all too well.

This was what I knew about you: you grew up without a favorite cease fire.

Your mother was a pushcart, a towel rack, your father was the same.  By the time you were five, every eavesdrop knew your name. By the time your flashback fell into mine, your face was still a fitting room you were trying to find.

We were living in a summer creature, one that had emptied out its echoes long before the leftovers fell in.  The erosion was exposed, cloth wasn’t always an obstacle.

I found you in the back fields, burning bones in an old paper bag.  They looked like black candles buried in there.  

I remember your face was ragged, bruised under the eyes and bluish on the blind sides.  I remember what you told me first, “the big wars are over, and the small ones never end.”

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her gunpowder horoscope

“A beauty is not suddenly in a circle. It comes with rapture. A great deal of beauty is rapture. A circle is a necessity. Otherwise you would see no one. We each have our circle.’’

― Gertrude Stein, “A Circular Play”, Last Operas and Plays, 1920.

“I see better things, and approve, but I follow worse.”

― Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1st century AD

Memory smelled like pennies and batteries.  Seven years, almost eight years now. I could barely see how backwards the days went.    

This year too.  I’m still not going home.  

Missed opportunities, specific routes, the speed at which light attaches past and present tense.

It’s always the same.


Children when they use grammar incorrectly it can be cute, almost to a destructive degree. 

To pose an alternate order where the coherence between language and reality no longer hold.   Paradox becomes the norm and the structuring rule.

You get suffocated by wordless potential. Nonsense.  Babble.  

Linguistically it is sickening. So over the edge it is unpleasant.

There was a time when there were ten suns.  This is what we did.

Cut our way through the eye socket, from behind.

Gut the creature, leave commas of flesh, use the remnants.  

Another revenge performance and then another.  Displaced urges often become primary means of gratification.  

There is a Lamprey River in New Hampshire.  In the beginning, every animal was born once without bones at all.

Spent all summer running away from the back-court of an air conditioned car.  Defending against larger, longer, taller men. They are just stronger.  

Costumes were left over from repeated performances: Ghosts in the wall.  Giant immobile organs. We all too often confuse bulk with certainty.  

How obvious now. The size makes a difference, to be frank.  That’s what they kept telling me.  

I am still not interested in men.

Some argue there are biological roots to our recognition of cuteness. 

Big eyes. Full cheeks.  Cues sculpted to trigger or release caregiving behavior in adults. 

If only.

Rarely do monsters appear in folklore without some kind of warning or social message. 

If only.

Facial structure:  I often imagine myself without my jaw.  Without any jaw. Jawless. You can feel another row of teeth growing, just by being overly aggressive with yourself.

Forcing an eye to the future. Should have lost a lot of years.  Probably lost a lot of years. 

Tales of transformation all tell the same thing: The true form is the one that appears at night.

Finally, all ten suns slowed down and she came up to my room alone.  

Is that all you are.” she asked?

Aren’t you anything else?

Let’s see. 

On the inverse of flesh: Jam the knife in.  Remember to buy in bulk.

Animals are mostly just bags of juice.  Sugar water. Milk. But states of matter are not fixed features of the universe.  

King Henry the First died from food poisoning after eating a lamprey pie, in approximately 1600.  It doesn’t matter the date. It’s not important.  

The point is unexpected medical costs are the worst kind of surprise.’

I still have bruised tissue around each eye socket from an assault seven years, eight years ago.  

You can still see depressions and cavities around the orbital bones.  Little gray rings sunk around each eye.  

A circular play.  It always reminds me.

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scavenger’s daughter

It was a scar chart stacked into a skyline, it was shipwrecks of soot and shipwrecks of skin and shipwrecks of everything after.  I called it a home, I called it the shadow of a scavenger’s daughter.

The entirety was risen to scale.  A city of replaced components, perfect complements, a test of compressions to become. 

If we knew each other at all, you knew it as a torture device too.

We crashed there in halves. Shallow-breathed and splinter-limbed and salvage remaining. 

Underwater was what was left, most of us had sunk by then.

We tried to make an echo of who to remember or how. 

Every face was a capsized float, swollen closed from the vocal cords on down.  They followed as clouds of flesh, hungry ghosts, decomposing fish.

Today, the human food supply contains a plethora of fresh, farmed, cured and processed meats. But we’ve not always been the competent herdsman or capable hunter.

At dawn of the Pleistocene epoch, approximately 2.5 millions years ago, humans  practiced confrontational scavenging, a from of kleptoparasitism in which one creature drives off or distracts another predator from its kill.

As humans developed a taste for the meat of fallen vertebrates, we also discovered the taste of our own flesh.  

It is likely our ancestors turned to cannibalism due to lack of resources and competition at critical points in their ascension.

”My purpose is to tell of bodies which have been transformed into shapes of a different kind.”  

– Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1st century AD.

Here is most of what I felt: 

I was terrified.  Completely.

Make a fraud of yourself long enough and the fault lines do what they want to you.   

Often leaving you without an afterlife to fulfill.

The economy of cannibalism speaks for itself, which is why the practice is prevalent throughout the animal kingdom, including among human and non-human primates.

A widespread presence of genes protecting against prion disease suggest that human endocannibalism was common for thousands of years.  

This practice may often take on supernatural and ritual dimensions.

They hid in small circles, with teeth behind teeth.  True predators who knew the trauma well.

Born again by drowning wrong, they were becoming natives there.  

Soon, you said, they would be hunting us on their own.

“A scavenger’s daughter does not age.  A scavenger’s daughter survives by starving a corpse in its place.”

One crushed orbital bone.  Or a couple overriding things to know.

You told me there was drowning and there was dissolving, stretching and compressing, the only difference was the distance to tell.

You told me even blind spots could be living things, and still, I wanted to believe you.

The towers of Scavenger’s Daughter were built of interlocking shipwrecks, which made the underwater city “earthquake-proof.

Using reinforced skeletons, the hulls of hundred of vessels could be notched and stacked on top of each other to create structures of enormous height and complexity.  

Together these structures form the city of Scavenger’s Daughter.  A skyline of shipwrecks rising from the ocean floor.

There are times we all fail.  We salvage ourselves just long enough to explore the wreckage of a warmer person.  We dig out the hidden teeth in each other.

By the anniversary of our attack, I was back to six bones missing again.  Two orbital, two nasal, and two made of hunger and need.

You told me there were ways to trust it would end, a scavenger may pray to surviving gods too.

Jillison, we should leave here.  Now.

Jillison. We should leave here. 

Now.  Now. Now.  Now.

Now.

The Scavenger’s Daughter worked by strapping the head of the victim to an A-frame shaped metal rack at the top point of A. The hands were then tied at the midpoint and the legs at the lower spread end of A

The body was then compressed from both sides, pushing the knees up in a sitting position and the head in the opposite direction. This resulted in blood running from the nose and ears of the victim other than damage to muscles.

The Scavenger’s Daughter was among those torture devices that were rarely used and yet relatively easy to make. 

Shipwrecker’s Paradox.

Whether a shipwreck which is restored by replacing each and every one of its wooden parts is still the same shipwreck?

And yes, I said yes.  Pick your shipwreck, any shipwreck.  Pick your carcass, any carcass. Pick your angles, pick your shape.  Pick your predators, pick your prey.

I survived as a scavenger’s daughter, I could only keep circling yes.

dark swan astronomy / hospital 6

We slept back to back, with sixteen windows along each spine.  

Jillison understood the curvature of carrying nothing, back starting to bleed, another accuracy of the dark.   

The present often meaning a single event being considered, infinity is not that which has nothing beyond itself, but that which always has something beyond itself.  

Time becomes ambush and ambush becomes time.