He was able to sense that Not what came from him again, and the thought that he would follow one day the number into its lack met him. That bit of Nothing that allows him to be not everything else would shift and overtake him, bringing out all the otherness that inside resided. It was not the not-being that had made him he knew – yet part of the same lack.more
Chicago resident-cat “Steve” looks in disbelief at the cat treat offered to him by his care-giver. “I can't believe I asked for this thing”, Steve said. “It's a plain piece of popcorn. No butter, salt or even cheese, and I never really wanted it.” Having pestered his friend Kirk for some hours by jumping on his lap and mercilessly nudging his bowl filled with hot-popped corn, Steve cried “bloody murder" with melodramatic posture, as if his hunger were about to drive him to despair and suicide. The gray and black tabby stared briefly at the treat given to him. After letting loose a scoff, Steve looked up at his friend with semi-bewildered eyes.
“I don't want this,” Steve is recorded as saying. The said pop-treat resides still on the wood-paneled floor, both parties irritated at the outcome.more
Once when I was sleeping in the dark, heavy of dream, I was awoken by a scratching at my door. I thought it odd that one of my animals might be outside my condominium, so I performed a roll-call; all present and accounted. I looked through the peephole but saw no-one in the hall. Curious, I opened the entrance to my abode and found at my feet a medium-sized, purple frog, fully decked in a yellow cape and red hat. He seemed annoyed.
“I haven't been able to get in,” he said. “They sent me to the wrong section of your home.”
“Oh really?” I said.
“Yeah. I need to come inside.”
I stood in my pajamas deeply perplexed.
“May I?” asked the frog.
When he came inside, he flapped his cape and pulled out what looked like an electronic device, something like a small hand-held computer. He tapped it once and then shook his aggravated head.
“You know, I hate to ask, but can you get back into bed?” he said in an irritated voice, though I saw that he was not annoyed with me.
“You're supposed to be asleep when I arrive.” He looked at a...more
Some what can seem to be one thing and appear to have captured exactly a happening what, but the direction of perception is wrong, usually. Reality comes as a series of folds and one needs to unfold whats in order to understand. Perception is part of this process, yet the folding-unfolding creates a blind spot.
There are many reasons why the Classics section of the Modern Languages department needs more resources and attention, not the least of which is the potential for a Classics presence. Classics at DePaul has not been given a proper opportunity to flourish and we cannot know the potential for enrollments until there is a Greek and Latin presence as well as a Classics major. A small DePaul Classics contingent has worked over the years to gain ascendancy and to solidify its presence, yet a lack of resources has hampered efforts. Classics has been allowed a minor, which has given ancient language studies at DePaul meager opportunity to function, and when resources are made available to the department they invariably go to language sections that have not only enough to function well, but also possess sufficient funds to continue arguing for more resources. Classics is not permitted a presence in department voting that decides distribution of funds. A full time, tenure-track presence will remedy this situation, but if a tenure-track position is not possible, DePaul can show its...more
Dana stopped near the side of the road and tied Aristippos near the bramble bush. He would stay, keeping the carriage in one place. Good boy. She was fortunate that no-one had seen it before she did. It would surely be gone already should someone have come along and seen it. Its chain was tangled in the green and browning thorns and branches of the angry bush. Its entanglement was why its owner had not taken it back, or maybe its owner did not know where it is, not yet know they lost it. Must be. She thought that it was a most beautiful object. Perhaps not the most beautiful ever seen, but the beauty and the originality steeped in tradition that it employed surrounded her mind with luminescent musing. It was, she supposed, an amulet, spherical and gold with strangely-formed words written all about and around. She was unable to discern all of the sliver-filled characters, could see that there existed a great many more than she perceived woven inside the sphere in many layers beneath the surface, more and more spheres inside spheres each embroidered with insight. She looked at it...more
The mat of blonde hair flopped down into his face again. He savagely threw it back atop his head. He leaned his well-cut arm around the divan and glanced at the wall with the many, giant shelves inset, myriad resting books and old compact disks, even some leftover videos lounging as though they had worked all day. He knitted his brows. The mahogany floor and the brass plating on the glossy-wood windows spoke to him as they always had. This his library scanned immense fifty meters or so, and it was the smallest room in the ever-expanding domicile. The lengthy field of fine fescue outside the manor and the multi-kilometered expanse of trees enveloped the home entire in silence. He thought he may want a Moules Mariniere, but then again no. Perhaps he wanted another woman. They were cheap, many times, and quite manipulable.
He may want to fly north; he was somewhat in the mood for skiing and cocoa at high altitude.
No. Not really.
He suspected work on another addition to the house would be his next thing, but there was so much of that, had been done...more
Agnes pushed the porcelain figurine forward just a bit. What with a blue, floppy hat and the flowing dress its depiction of a young woman strolling was quite beautiful, she thought. It slid along the counter as she pushed it, but she didn't pick it up. The youthful stroller was too heavy. Everything around her came laden with weights and dripped as if drenched in some sort of fluid. She thought it was an oil of some kind. It fell exceedingly slowly from her body as it weighed down her limbs hands, and her feet almost dragged along the tiles. A drop would not hit the floor in an hour so slowly did it go from her body. She didn't want to touch anything, was afraid that anything she held would break, already broken. When she arose in the morning, her first thoughts pressed her back into the bed. She wanted to sleep more and when awake keep sleeping. The visit to Precious Porcelains had been a good idea, and it gave her a bit of levity and thus lifted her a bit lighter, but only a bit. She walked along the aisle and found an urge to stroke a collie on the glass shelf, eternally...more
“You're not serious.”
“I am. I'm quite serious,” she said.
“Why do you want to know?”
“I'm curious about what...transpires in there.”
“'Transpires,'” he said with some incredulity.
“Well, you may be disappointed. I'm sure that what goes on in mens'...place of...'exiting' is different than what goes on in yours.”
“Some of it is very much the same.”
“Granted. But you guys do all that primping and trimming and spreading of color.”
“I'm not sure what you mean.”
He knitted his brows.
“It's a magical place. Much moreso than your den of beautifying.”
“I remember when I first entered our sacred place. It was when I was still little, maybe five or six years male. It's the time that I recall, anyway. Maybe I entered earlier and have no memory of it.”
“Of course. Of course.”
“The door is naturally guarded by a man in a top-hat. Usually, the hat color is yellow or orange, but any hue will suffice. He's always happy to greet you and he has an...more
Tom squatted and examined the pile of fallen broken wooden branches around the Bitternut hickory. The stick was not proper, too thick and curved in the wrong manner. It would be unwieldy and awkward. There were all sorts of trees around him, and when he turned his view circle-round he was able to see from his squat much more clearly what moved and who was where. His uncle had taught him how to survive and observe in the wilderness. His headache had subsided a bit, but he still hurt.
“Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.”
“Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.”
“Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.”
“Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP...more
Preacher Marvin, dressed in a breathtaking tan suit with black lapels, spoke to a theater of believers who howled and hooted exultation. He delivered the message again: the good christian sympathizes with Others. He is compassionate with other creatures, and then preacher Marvin said that god gives us the earth to tend as we see fit, animals have no souls. He said “we” are the chosen people. He paced the stage before the pulpit and then circled round behind it. He banged his fist on the sturdy, gilded wood as he claimed that no other creature possessed a soul like man. Marvin then gradually walked out into the audience and touched the hand of an elderly woman, front row. She rose and hugged Marvin, saved and Halleluiah. She related to the audience how she had been lonely and afraid, near life’s end.
“No-one ought to fear death as long as they have Christ in their heart,” said Marvin.
He held the frail thing up before a great lake of geriatric eyes.
- “I met this guy,” Xenis said.
“You did?” asked John.
- “Yeah. He’s a friend of...
The car jerked as Rokita sat down on the plastic cover with the wafer-thin, electric blue carpeting on top. He placed his sack beside him and wound the strap around his arm, though he wasn't carrying it. A weariness spread through him, which a lack of sleep seemed to keep generating. He knew he must drive himself awake and then slog through the day. Ordinarily, he would take out his phone and type at Karina, but the weariness produced in him just enough lethargy to inspire akinesis. Rok slid his eyes across the car, over the standing-man hanging onto the rail with knapsack on back, along the ugly, light-heeled, white shoes of the pale-skinned teenager with the pods in ears, and around and onto a woman staring intently into what Rok first thought was a phone, but was apparently a small mirror. “Maybe they have an app for that,” he thought lazily. His eyes fell on her as she ensured the appearance of smooth, dark brown, clean skin. Her long hair shifted into dreads, other portions shining smooth. After a moment she noticed him noticing her. He thought fast and lifted his hand,...more
Dane looked up into the white glass and steel dome with the bright light falling down. Someone with a thick, paper bag nudged him on the shin as she talked on her phone. The white shirt on his form had no stain on it; he had made certain that no yellow fell there. The marble fountain he had been sitting on shined up at Dane, and he thought to sit down again. He glanced again at the thousands of pennies lining the fountain and watched as another person with another thick, paper bag descended the moving stairs. None of these persons talked to him. They seemed to notice him in no way, but that was alright. He waited for something else, not them. Dane ate the last of his meal, a dog on a stick with mustard and honey. His attention turned again toward the light coming from the white glass. Soon, the light would come, shining down on him from the the window in the roof. It would make him young again.
He'd see Alan and Gracie. He couldn't wait.more
Steve says that he has been patient up until now, but no-one has presented to, granted by law or writ, submitted control over, or otherwise relinquished to him the cheese. He’s going to have to smash someone or something soon, but before he does that, he wants everyone to know that the papyrus given to him by the man who had fallen off his horse is proof enough. This papyrus is the word of god. It's written down for Christ's sake. It says right there in plain ancient Greek that all cheese belongs to the cat Steve who must have control over all of it immediately. The words written down on that papyrus are absolute and incontrovertible. Listen only to Steve's papyrus and to Steve's papyrus alone and you'll find truth and justice, and...the good life,...or happiness or some shit. But you must hand over the cheese now lest you suffer eternal damnation or oblivion,...or some such other crap like that.
John remained home for the next few days, gathering strength. He listened to the strong-willed voice tell the same thing, once more comforted. Still, on this occasion, he felt a sadness – something that he had not experienced. On the days when Christopher kept guard, the old John slept mostly and gathered himself together. Preacher Marvin told him to love others, that the strength of god came to him when he found compassion in his heart. John knew that the sadness in him was that compassion. “I do feel for them.” Five days later John moved sluggishly down the stairs and slid thankfully into his Altima. He rested a moment, dazed from the exertion the stairs demanded. Ten minutes passed; he started the car and drove without plan. The streets, the pedestrians and the configuration of traffic took him wherever he might go. He stopped at a theater downtown and pondered a film. The titles all seemed profane and harsh. He met no-one willing to talk with him, and so John placed himself again in his Altima and drove where he thought was home. The drive once again took him more than a few...more
When he looked to the floor, he perceived again not the whole living-space he had entered but rather bits of pieces of some kind of something moving in a strange manner gathering and, crushed by the force of one object for another, pressed together into a larger mass. This substance remained the same, unchanged, for so long no sentient creature can live, then felt the tug of a pull and fell into a chasm within the earth where the mass of pieces melted from extreme heat, forming a different kind of mass, one black and dense. There the mass-black remained for as long as it had before, now much colder and hard, when a slight warmth came touching upon its surface, not from below as before but atop, from where the pull of gravity did not come. Its enormous mass and heavy grace lifted from embrace of earth, it came down heavy on a bed of pliable metal, then found itself moved along a line and large parts came off made into squares polished and set a mere six decades on the floor where some of the frailest of fleshy creatures walked spilled and sat.more
The rubber bands you see above are the worst ever. They serve no practical function, except to aggravate and annoy humankind. Too thin to hold anything substantial for longer than a minute or so they perform no proper rubber-powered task. You may be able to wrap your book or a few pages of paper in them, but within a brief span of time the bands will break, fueling rage like that of Achilles.
They are here to test us, to demand that we remain calm in the face of wasted resource, unfulfilled need and outright uselessness. They are like some relatives you know, I'm sure.more
My emotionally disturbed cousin Joey told me that he likes a girl at school. He wanted to know how he could make himself more attractive to her and I said “Girls like jokes about bodily fluids and gasses coupled with clearly resonant flatulence. Leering helps as well.” Seemingly cogitating over my words, he listened for a moment and said, “Thank you, I think this dating thing might be quite easy.”more
Not of his own labor or worth a young man came into considerable wealth. He needed no possessions because he owned anything and everything he pleased. He desired no woman because legions of them came. He had no cares, but found or attained without effort whatever he desired. His affluence took him wherever he wished, yet quickly his boredom grew and his lack of necessity tired him. He began to seek what he was unable to obtain and there he found a desire great and plentiful. He longed for something not intangible but greater than matter, something more able than that what he owned, and he found that longing in his search for an acquaintance – a man, an African-American woman, an older woman, diminutive workers, madly corrupt judges and a bee. This youth was cruel, even savage, and though he learned quickly, he understood sometimes not at all. He sought that intoxicating acquaintance in his hearth, during travel and in taverns, but such company rarely comes when bidden. Occasionally, when the youth had ceased looking or when he had grown too tired for seeking, or seemingly...more
Steve says that he’s being harassed by those who don’t believe. Humans send him email, saying that he doesn’t own the cheese, that god didn’t tell anyone that he owns all the past, present and future cheese. Steve wants these “persons” to know that they are oppressing him. He has the proof that the cheese is his. He believes and he even has followers who believe that he is a cat of god. This guy who gives him food – what’s the name? – Kirk. Kirk is a believer in Steve’s ownership of the cheese. He gives Steve the cheese all the time. Steve says that those who refuse to believe the one and only truth, that papyrus that substantiates his ownership of the cheese, those people are oppressing his god-given right to own all the cheese. It’s against the constitution,...or something.more
Frederick needed a shave and he knew it. His hair grew in thick patches everywhere, practically, on his body; none was thicker than here on his face. His hair needed only a few hours to emerge on his chin and no matter how closely he ran the thin piece of metal across his face, he was unable to prevent the quick onslaught of raven hair from appearing in so very brief time. Once, when he was watching pigeons and children in a park he noticed a young girl watching him. Thinking nothing of the matter at first, he went about his business feeding the birds and the animals who recognized him as food. Not a source of food, but food itself, as if the pigeons were heeding the phenomenological call...but to food. They loved this man – as they sometimes loved man – more than they realized. He had given them sustenance, that’s true, but he also captured one or two of them on occasion, such occasioning wounded paws or other unseen incapacitating maladies. This frighteningly tall creature would grab them; somehow they would fall asleep unwilling and when they awoke, they felt better – just...more
- Galinda turned her face away from the road toward Calvin.
- “You don't listen, Cal. Do you know how to listen? I never said she wanted to move. I said she moved. Jesus.”
- Calvin did not respond, but observed the pale yellow open fields passing beside the highway. He adjusted his shirt.
- “Why did you wear that? I swear. It's what...the third day in a row you wear the same thing?”
- Galinda ran her eyes over his long sleeves.
- “And when are you getting a job?”
- She shook her head in disgust.
- “You don't cook. You have no friends.”
- She waited for a response that did not come.
- “You're allowed to criticize and you can't take criticism, Cal.”
- He hated it when she called him “Cal.”
- There ticked twenty minutes before another word emerged.
- “You contradict yourself every five minutes and then tell everyone about their inconsistency. Do you even know that?”
- Galinda silenced herself. She wanted to express her frustration, not destroy him.
- “It's not the same shirt,” he...
- Calvin turned his face away from the road toward Galinda.
- “You don't listen, Gale. Do you know how to listen? I never said she wanted to move. I said she moved. Jesus.”
- Galinda did not respond, but observed the pale yellow open fields passing beside the highway. She adjusted her shirt.
- “Why did you wear that? I swear. It's what...the third day in a row you wear the same thing?”
- Calvin ran his eyes over her long sleeves.
- “And when are you getting a job?”
- He shook his head in disgust.
- “You don't cook. You have no friends.”
- He waited for a response that did not come.
- “You're allowed to criticize and you can't take criticism, Gale.”
- She hated it when he called her “Gale.” There ticked twenty minutes before another word emerged.
- “You contradict yourself every five minutes and then tell everyone about their inconsistency. Do you even know that?”
- Calvin silenced himself. He wanted to vent his frustration, not destroy her.
- “It's not the same shirt,” she said finally. “It's very...
Kirk Shellko...and Steve
Steve says he’s plagued by questions, some from within and some from without. The question he wants to address today comes from fellow Chicagoans who want to know how he knows that god says all the cheese is his. Steve thinks this is a good and valid question and so he wants to provide a proper answer. Steve once went into the barren sands of Sahara and lost his way. He grew thirsty and tired from lack of nourishment and water and thought that he might die, but at the moment of expiration he encountered a vision. The vision was of a man who had fallen off of his horse, blinded by another vision. The man said that all the cheese in the world is Steve’s and when Steve asked how he knew that all the cheese belonged to him, this specific Steve, the man said that he learned from the almighty.
“Rest assured,” he said. “All cheese belongs to Steve.”
The man said as well that it was then incumbent upon Steve to retrieve the cheese from the cheese thieves who had taken it. The man in the vision gave Steve a book, really a roll of papyrus, and said that he ought to preach to...more
I'm not available to answer the phone right now. I'm out visiting my emotionally disturbed cousin, Joey. He’s in the intensive care ward. You see, he was urinating into the back of a television set when suddenly – CRACK! Apparently a bolt of electricity ran up his urine stream. I hope he’s alright.more
John felt more energy in the next few days, not enough to exit his unit. More days passed before he again felt strength enough to walk. The park clouds cast gray-shade overtop the grass, the dogs and runners. A mischievous patch of blue peeked through the graying vapor and glided slowly out of the park limits, moving a section of light across the ball players. Runners, fewer dogs, fewer young persons occupied the park this day, and that fact made sad old John, his spirits rising regardless. He walked nearer to the lake and another bench, this time cement, offered an uneven surface to the surrounding fatigue. A woman in loose-fit jeans and sweatshirt walked with a large dog, perhaps parts Dane and Shepherd. The dog was lively but slow-moving, holding an ancient propriety and kindness in his limbs. The woman threw a ball about one-hundred yards away and the dog toddled toward it, rocking up and then down onto the ground as he moved. He stopped short of the yellow prey, returned to the woman without it. She pointed and yelled something, then walked with some agitation to retrieve...more
Not of his own labor or worth a young man came into considerable wealth. He needed no possessions because he owned anything and everything he pleased. He desired no woman because legions of them came. He had no cares, but found or attained without effort whatever he desired. His affluence took him wherever he wished, yet quickly his boredom grew and his lack of necessity tired him. He began to seek what he was unable to obtain and there he found a desire great and plentiful. He longed for something not intangible but greater than matter, something more able than that what he owned, and he found that longing in his search for an acquaintance – a man, an African-American woman, an older woman, diminutive workers, madly corrupt judges and a bee. This youth was cruel, even savage, and though he learned quickly, he understood sometimes not at all. He sought that intoxicating acquaintance in his hearth, during travel and in taverns, but such company does not come when bidden. Occasionally, when the youth had ceased looking or when he had grown too tired for seeking or seemingly...more
Steve says there is a god. And god created cheese. God created cheese just for Steve, even though humans learned for themselves how to make cheese and even though they make and consume massive amounts of it. All of the history and consumption of cheese was needed in order for humans to present to Steve cheese. Steve also says that control over all of cheese ought to be given to him right now, since god created the cheese just for him. Humans ought to make no delay in presenting to him all the present and future cheese and the only reason that cheese has not been given to Steve – he owns it really – is that humans do not understand the divine plan, especially when it comes to cheese, cheese products and serving Steve the cheese.
Let’s get it moving, folks.more
There was once a young man of considerable influence and property. He had not a care and found or obtained whatever he desired. His affluence took him wherever he wished and after he had gone where he pleased he quickly-quite-naturally grew tired and bored and began to seek what he was unable to obtain, and there he found a desire great and plentiful. He needed no possessions because he owned anything and everything he pleased. He desired no woman because they came in legions. He longed for something that was not tangible, something greater than that what he owned, and he found that longing in his search for an acquaintance – a man an African-American woman, a homeless professor and a bee. This youth was cruel, even savage, and though he learned quickly, he learned sometimes not at all. He sought that intoxicating acquaintance in hearth and during travel even in taverns. Occasionally, when the youth had ceased looking or when he had grown too tired for seeking, he found that ancient acquaintance. There and then the gap filled as the two now friends met and chatted, played and...more
On the second day of seven, a rather thin young man sat beside John on a bench where he was gathering his wind. The young man seemed to enjoy the autumn weather, but interacted with no-one, thumbing and finger-dancing on a small, electronic device. John was unable to refrain from looking onto the screen and to his amazement, what looked to him like a movie was playing. He noticed that the young man connected to his device through an ear-set; he was able to observe unobserved. Gabe wore comfortable low-top tennis shoes and baggy, elongated shorts with many pockets. A somewhat tight tee-shirt wrapped itself around him.
“May I ask what you're doing?”
The young man gave no reply, and John waved in front of him. Not wanting to disturb him, John looked around for some time, observing the goings-on going on, but became restless. He looked again at the computer screen. He thought he saw an explosion and an automobile roll along a sidewalk, but was not sure.
Still, no reaction. John once again waved his hand before the young man, and then finally...more
Michael slid the dresser drawer into its slot though the stubborn wood complained. He looked a last time into the mirror atop, near the cologne, after-shave and deodorant. Everything was in place; he had consumed a full hour combing his hair alone. He opened the door to the hallway and felt the soft bristles of carpet beneath his feet. He liked that sensation, and he heard the murmur of some few voices around the corner down the carpet-covered stairs into the kitchen and out beyond the deck. Some vociferous sounds even out onto the lawn he sensed.
“What are they doing on the lawn this early,” he asked himself as he glanced at his watch. “I need to say something about that.”
No-one had disturbed him as he prepared himself; they never did. No-one inquired after his bad moods, or put difficult questions to him. No-one made any suggestions to him about anything. As he walked into the living room near the kitchen beside the window leading out onto the back porch, and beyond came the lawn, a kind of silence followed his steps. They remained a few moments and split into...more
She shook her head as he handed over the folded trousers. “What?” he asked. Again her head shook. He paused before handing over her blouse and dress-slacks. “What do you mean, 'What?'?” “I mean, what are you shaking your head for?” She stared blankly in no particular direction, eyes wide and unrealizing. “Shake?” “Yeah, a shake of the head, as in 'No'.” “I didn't shake my head.” “Sure you did.” “Did I?” “Yes!” “Well, I don't know what happened. Where did it go?”
“Seriously? You lost it?” “I didn't lose it. I just...don't know exactly where it is now,” she said wryly.
A wrinkle and a Harumph emerging on his face, Richard began looking under the gathering of socks and cloth-napkins in front of him; Anastasia searched the trouser-pockets and insides of shirt-sleeves.
Knowing what the other was thinking, they extended the search. He opened dresser drawers, pulling out T-shirts and pants, examining their folds. She opened closets, leafing between each dangling garment. Richard darted to the back room where Anastasia continued to rummage through...more
Thaddeus Breach delighted in his state of living. If the cosmos were constructed in such a manner that history and circumstances repeated themselves endlessly and in precisely the same manner, Thaddeus would be more than content being Breach. A portly, hairy-odiferous man of nearly sixty years’ what-is, Thaddeus remained a growing entity among legal luminaries. Not at the apex of his field, he hovered yet near the crown. His life had been charmed from the beginning, he being the son of a well-respected and potent lawyer. The Breaches were consistent in their competency as legal advisers – the legal field believably a part of their genetic structure. The judicial mind-set early took young Thaddeus, arguing everything and anything with his contemporaries – ofttimes prevailing. Social grace and success, however, did not like young Thaddeus, and a thyroid condition created more of him than even other heavy children. Thaddeus moved slowly and his facial features, large naturally oversized, gave short,...more
The fog lifted, suddenly but still not so quickly. Her eyes opened as her head bobbed up and around, the drowsiness wanting to take her. She felt a sensation of movement that was not her own, but her legs propelled her forward. She must be moving.
“Come one, Jillian! You have to wake up!”
She looked into the sky, overcast, with lazy eyes and the sharp cold of the grass swept beneath her naked feet. She couldn't know where she had been, but she wanted to... She didn't finish the thought. It somehow disappeared. Sleep was creeping over her again, but that was odd; she was running. The ugly-blue hospital gown flapped on her back, reminding her of some kind of...surgery?
“Come on! Jillian, move it!”
Someone held her hand as they ran, an enormous field in front of a falling sun. Her belly ached.more
Slanting, pale-yellow layers of earth pressing immense one flat layer atop another form a magazine of stone. Its width penetrates deep into the terran base. Earth’s gravity pulls creatures at angle against its unyielding solidity. Millenia of precipitation and searing sunlight have pulverized its surface particle by particle. Stones the length of a man’s hand and arm, the size of one’s finger and the shape of one’s heart or lung lay beside and within the crevices that house countless creeping beasts. It is as if man were here scattered piecemeal, fragmented specs of moist organ ossified. Air is here thin and rare, as if it were a priceless tellurian commodity. Grist is as scarce. Steep declines spin vertigo in men’s heads, displaying a terrifying fall onto sharp igneous spearheads, fiery aflicker in tandem with Sol’s children. Though light finds its way here, the air is arid and cool, becoming cooler. Sinewy foliage lies flourishing beneath the arid weather where rain’s moisture finds its home in soil and dewy growth. Each range lies thus in verdant whiskers, as if a mount be...more
By Kirk Shellko Loyola University
Odis was odd. No doubt was there about it. Still, Odis was in many respects a very common person. He had no children, nor did a wife live with nor girlfriend visit him, yet he possessed the same difficulties as other men, even women. Most often, Odis labored over the business activities of a man whose worth far exceeded his. He had regular work, but he also hired himself out on weekends and sometimes weeknights because though he toiled sixty to seventy hours per week, he never had enough money. Odis needed to pay his utility bill, his student debt, his electricity bill, his cell-phone and internet bill, buy a new cell phone every three months, pay his rent, his car note, his car and home insurance, his gas bill, as well as buy his bike maintenance, his replacement toothbrushes, his needle and thread, his Quaker oats, his Q-tips, his Saran wrap, his chewable vitamins, his drool-eliminator, his dandruff-control hair tonic, his suspender enforcements, his toilet paper, and his foot-sanitizer. Secretaries Day and Valentine’s Day as well as...more
- “We'll be protected.”
- Nick and John exited the still-running Altima, books and gloves in – then over – hands. They knew they would not be able to talk with many persons, but despite the weakness in limbs and lack of understanding where he was, John continued where his comrade followed. They knocked on several doors before they met a woman flushed with child-tending. Her stout-and-growing frame betrayed a fading conventional allure; hair disheveled, blond at the ends dark brown at root. Her dark eyebrows complimented her pale complexion. A mild frustration possessed her words.
- “We’re here to spread good news,” John began.
- “It's good to see you boys around here again.”
- “May I take it, ma’am, that you have the Word?"
- “I'm a practicing Christian, my friend.”
- She smiled when she said it, and they talked on her porch until a toddler called away her attention. The exchange was friendly and cordial, as if the three had been friends for years. They knew Christ was Lord, The Bible was...
Little bit hair covers his body as he walks huge around and takes. He takes like we all take, but he gives. Hairy on head-top of him, his limbs dart and one girl runs, flees every time from everything. He gives round things from up there, the stone up top where we walk and water runs. The round things he fills with stinking innards and eat comes. He doesn't lick, but is clean without hair. Stretch with him on the huge, soft, flat cushion six feet in the air. We climb when he climbs. Sleep there is soft. Gone now, he'll come back later.more
When John awoke and dressed, he threw open a robe and wrapped it around his pajamas, washed and donned fresh clothes, bright for the day. He realized the grin on his face only after a pause, sensing a laugh without his will attached. Old thoughts turned fresh, though his age was fraught with difficulties. He took in the air that blew onto his back porch, though it had been an irritant. John slept sounder than usual, his breath longer when he carried his favorite chair from the back room to the dining room; eyes shone brighter upon morning papers, atop his dusty cabinet and over that wretch of a neighbor came a smirk.
Even the fried eggs and mashed corn beef that Christopher cooked tasted better. Daily, he arose as he always did; slowly covered his limbs in cotton and polyester, slipping rubberized plastic onto his feet. His position differed – warm kindness like a best friend. A piece of living tasted better. Now, he thought about Christ. He found himself learning more, and the learning begged more learning, only opened more questions. He had not...more
I was in the basement of my parents' home when I peeked behind an old MagnaVox television. Something, I don't know what, convinced me to look. There I found a recently-severed arm. It had on very little blood, though I knew someone lost it only hours prior. How I knew I again had no idea. An old acquaintance, Taylor, was at that time my roommate, though I was not living in the same place as he. I lived at that time in the basement where I found the arm. I brought it into the bathroom on the ground floor where I attempted to clean a smudge on its wrist, a thick, dirty oil. I was largely unsuccessful, but perhaps half of the stain I contentedly removed. I returned to the basement and another unknown force compelled me to seek the arm's owner, not because of a concern over his safety and welfare, but because I wished to inform him that I picked up his arm and tried to wipe off a smudge. I knew he was well, though I again knew not how I knew. He would be glad at my efforts to tidy his appendage. I suddenly found myself in our apartment, the one in which I never lived. It resembled a...more
The man said in a simple and unadorned tone that He would save the world, if only the world should listen. The soft-spoken masculine words explained. “Compassion and acceptance.”
The commercial-confident voice said that the only way to find acceptance from god is through the holy Christian scriptures; these tell the story of a benevolent deity, coming to earth and giving an opportunity to men to become good, but only if one accepts the fact of the resurrection.
John needed never leave his bed, at that moment became a good man.
He listened to these same words for several hours before slowly sinking again into happy somnescence. John dreamt of being carried along on a ship built exclusively for him. He looked around, observed and found no person at the helm; he was afraid because he knew nothing of piloting. A storm suddenly arrived out of nothing and tossed John’s diminutive craft; he feared when he saw his shipmates, the disciples of Christ, panicking and tearing at their hair like fear-filled women, but quickly realized the ship was guided seamlessly...more
- John was not surprised. He had come this Sunday in order to do just such a thing. He ambled along the aisles and smiled to the young couples, winked at more than one of the young women. Nick was nearby, passing along the golden dish with the wide ends. Having proceeded along the center aisle, they came to the end of their deed and walked more quickly into the bowels of the House of the Master. The pastor delivered his sermon. The true benefit of prayer is to acknowledge and wonder at the creation of god; one does wrong by taking for oneself the activities which bring men closer to heaven. The sermon was standard and the gathering comprised of many grey coats, yellow dresses, glasses and polyester slacks, cars made same and sameness made more similar, residing comfort. Nick and John remained in the rear of the building, separating the cash from the checks. John found a surprise in his dish. He took it out and showed it to Nick.
- “What on earth?”
- “Happens all the time,” Nick said.
- “What will we do with a ring?”
- John had not been...
- Succor was the cradle,
- diligence the wasp
- who sat not on wax
- but atop wood near a box,
- licking the sweet from a popsicle
- purchased from the vehicle.
- Long from comfort
- (the willow her home)
- least thought she of "risk."
- Her body three dollops,
- she hunted the ant,
- decisive her rant,
- not heeding the child.
- Draw, color, holler--
- not "crayon"
- nor "cinnamon"
- not "pertain"
- nor “foam”
- did dictionary reveal,
- but baby mother smash flee.
The long, slow drag of the thick metal chain and the tick of the diesel relentlessly dragged the mass of steel and comfortable rubber-plastic out of the water. No great smash of water pounding water did anyone hear, but the slow trickle and motion of diminutive pour upon the greater body related his emergence from the lake. The door closed, his belt wound itself around him, hugging him close to his seat. Still, he leaned forward, his eyes down-directed.
“I can't see his face. I mean, his features are so bloated I can't see what he looks like.”more
“It seems well said of Athens that it produces good men who are outstandingly excellent and bad men who are supremely wicked, just as it produces the sweetest honey and the deadliest hemlock.” Plutarch “Life of Dion” 58.
At the height of its prosperity the Athenian democracy was financed by the harsh exploitation of untold thousands of slaves in the silver mines and Laurium and by the subjection of the tribute-paying allies. The whole citizen population of Mytilene was condemned to death or slavery for trying to secede in 427 B.C., only to be spared at the last moment; there was no such reprieve for the people of Melos in 416. J.C. Mckeown “A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities” 60.
“Our present system of government is the same as it nearly always has been in the past. Some people call it a democracy, whereas other people call it whatever they like. It is actually an aristocracy approved of by the masses.” Plato “Menexenus” 238c
To ensure attendance at the assembly, shops were closed, streets not leading to the meeting place were blocked off, a rope soaked in bright...more
A man who looked very like Augustus came to Rome. Augustus had him summoned and asked him, "Was your mother ever in Rome?" The man said no, but added, "But my father often was" (Macrobius "Saturnalia" 2.4.20 trans. J.C. McKeown).
"Augustus liked his friends to be open and direct in their dealings with him. A man named Artemidorus once had himself brought into the emperor's presence in a covered litter, as if he were a woman, and then he jumped out with a sword in his hand shouting, 'Aren't you afraid someone may come in like this and kill you?' So far from being angry, Augustus thanked him for pointing out the danger." (Cassius Dio "Roman History" 56.43 trans. J.C. McKeown)
One must always take care in reading Roman "History" or "Medicine."
Tiberius was devoted to his wife, Vipsania Agrippina, daughter of Augustus' friend Vipsanius Agrippa, who was the second husband of Augustus' daughter, Julia. When Agrippa died, Augustus forced Tiberius to divorce Vipsania and marry Julia. Tiberius thus married his own former mother-in-law and his former wife's stepmother,...more
I was walking down the quiet street of a well-to-do neighborhood when I noticed a strange phenomenon. It was the type of place where everyone seemingly and simply keeps to themselves, never regarding one another with suspicion or antipathy. And indeed such serenity is why I had the urge to stroll. I had anticipated the walk to be one simple and uneventful. What happened, though it was not dangerous in the slightest, was one of those stories told at family reunions and other small, annoying social gatherings: a monologue calculated to pass the time and amuse, yet without real point.
I had gone up a steep incline and was, embarrassingly, well winded. I needed to catch my breath and decided to sit on one of those large round and comfortable stones typical suburbanites place at the apron of their driveway. These rocks seem designed both to mark absurd territory and annoy neighbors on one particular side. While I sat wondering why those who dwell in serene places would do such things, I noticed something that I will never be able to forget, both bizarre and amusing....more
This man is extraordinary.
He is hard, an acerbic sort.
His hands are callused; they do not appear to sense pain; they are coarse in their grasp, unyielding in the obtainment of pleasure.
His sense of smell is diminished, for it only partakes of putrescence. It embraces human refuse and avoids the honeyed bloom.
His taste is vulgar; only the strongest of seasoning may break through its rigidity. He dines on polluted fish and artificial essence.
His eyes are fierce and terrifying, for they lack insight, possessing nothing of beauty or justice. He sees only what he wishes to see, for he exists only outside himself.
His mind is tough and heavy; in his feral intensity he lacks reflection. Thus, it is difficult to speak with him. He understands only power and what it is to him. All other creatures are mere implements or obstacles to be utilized or removed as circumstance permits.
His physical composition makes him appear impressive; he seems impervious to ruin, as if he is unable to admit injury. His skin is rougher than leather and his...more
Kirk Shellko a.k.a. Lucian Whyte
Each woman danced her turn the shape of man. Dispassion was her first partner, Sensuality her second. Umbrage came, but he was inelegant and without rhythm. Fascination was her third partner, but he was overpassionate. Acquiescence arrived in the end, and he said “No need to falter, lover. No-one seeks to harm anyone else. Twilight is our dawn and we have no choice.”
The rat-tap of the pin on the metal-armed mechanism paid ping the sound-tap-rat-batter and the fleshy pink-skinned arms, nearly silent among the din of the assembly, quietly adjusted the bottles that clinked in a military line along a rubber serpentine path. Into the cardboard tank they marched. The wooden crate beneath the cardboard boxes, filled to bursting with those alcohol-soldiers, groaned a complaint as the weight of the boxes pressed toward the ground in an attempt to hug an earthen skin that lay buried beneath the many floors of steelgirded...more
The chicken was stupid. It had no idea what to do with itself. It knew little other than itself. It had many projects of great and significant self interest, but it had little awareness of them, only that of him, the chicken. Indeed the chicken could find no other real manner to think other than to think itself.
So it came that there was no other. And what better manner to teach humility than to teach insignificance in the face of other things existing? But there was only the chicken and his friend chickens, each of them exceedingly similar. Each knew nothing about the other that did not concern himself. So each chicken lived in his own world, accepting no other notion of anything else existing but himself, and all was well with the world of chickens.
One day there came a chicken most different from other chickens. This chicken's name was Kakos. Kakos was not only an uncommon chicken because he had grown a red beard, which he thought physically impossible for chickens, but because he claimed to know what no other chicken knew. Kakos the chicken knew how to save...more
Today at approximately 7am some kind of catastrophic event shook the corner of Rogers and Damen in Chicago’s far north side. The top corner of a red brick building was demolished by what at first seemed to be an explosion. Finding no evidence of outward projectiles, investigators suspect an implosion.
“There is a lack of debris in the area around the building, which is a strong indication that part of the building was sucked in, not out. And we found none of the debris in what remains of the unit,” said Frank Hannigen, a chief investigator for the ATF.
Other sources claimed that a buildup of some kind of destructive matter or device accumulated in that part of the building for some time. Called a bebra adorabilis, such a deadly-concealed device remains completely innocuous until suddenly a catastrophe occurs. These weapons of semi-mass destruction can remain hidden in plain sight for years, agents claim.
“There is a buildup of too much of something concentrated in one area of the universe. When a…let’s call it an implosive mass…is achieved, the potency of...more
- God has a stamp
- he wears in his pants.
- ahead he limps.
- An owl nods
- at his fading anger,
- one-thousand years separating
- his commands
- from his nod.
- "Wrap that trap closed,"
- he said before,
- yet now mostly silent
- he plays
- with ashes
- of his former self;
- lays stale eggs
- in a cage --
- wet from a wave
- of timely distaste.
- That owl plays an orange viola,
- sitting on a branch.
- "That's it."
- "He's done,"
- sings the bird,
- and he down again brings
- his worn-long stamp.
- "No more" on this.
- "No more" on that.
- "No more."
- ahead he limps.
"A Place of Comfort" (Lewis Lain)
Acrylic and cardboard on resonant window. 23” x 27”
Often with my paintings, I find I initially dig too deep into their meaning and when I bring the results of this thought to my conversations with 53947, he quickly dismisses them, encouraging a new perspective. A place of comfort is one of those paintings. 53947 sits, six (the orange cat) sits perched on the chair. He leans-in, a question—a declaration. Outside, the cupcake is taking someone away never to be seen again.Inside, all is calm. Thin walls separate grand events—all equal in occurrence and importance—interlocked.
Lewis Lain is a multi-medium narrative artist and illustrator living in Rogers Park, Chicago. His work makes use of recycled ‘resonant’ material such as re-claimed windows and found-glass as canvas with cardboard and acrylic. The result: multi-dimensional paintings punctuated with use of bold color, layers and line-work. Further exploration with 'resonant' material led to the creation of an ongoing recycled-cardboard sculptural series, "cardboard forge."...more
Ivy and Brick (excerpt from "Singularity")
The green of the ivy greened and did not red. The red of the brick wall reddened and did not green, nor did it whiten, nor yellow. The ivy was not cement, nor was it metal, nor rubber. The ivy hedera, being water and sunlight, soil and dead things life-bending living greened. The plant affixed itself to the red brick lightly, drawing some nutrients from the soil beneath the building, some nutrient from the building itself – with soil and building seemingly inanimate. The ivy and the building were at odds with one another, though a glance would signify that relation – the brick feeding the ivy, the ivy providing shade and a quantity of protection from the elements for the hard, hardly compromising material. The ivy was what it was and was where it was, and so the ivy was not in the position of the building precisely, nor was the building located where the ivy...more
Kirk Shellko Loyola University
It is dark. A light rain has fallen onto the seemingly black and shining street. It is early-morning quiet; no humans disturb the blissfully sublime silence – as so many disturb the peace of evening with their self-serving ramblings. Night fell along with clear perception long ago and the bustling movement of the herd has left its daily mark upon the earth without gratitude or empathy, but common human thankless utility. The air is as calm and soothingly still as the ground appears. It has been a peaceful evening in stark contrast to the tumult of the one previous — Mother’s show of force in the form of a thunderstorm. Thus this night is little more than quieting. It is of a deeply dark yet clear blue hue, one of those evenings when it is both easy and difficult to discern at what one is looking. In the clear of the few clouds numbering the heavens can be seen an object, just barely recognizable as some thing. Its brilliant yet elusive movement through the ether gives it a mystery both secular and divine.
As yet peering at...more
The Day Life Changed for 63455
Acrylic and Cardboard on Resonant Window. 23” x 27”
The forever cupcake is a giant white octopus that lives in the sea of worldview. Every so often, the cupcake scoots into land and gently picks someone from the shore. The person is scooped-up and carried-off into the sea, never to be seen again. No one is quite certain what happens to those carried-off by the cupcake, but no one is bothered by possibilities.
This is because they know the cupcake is a neutral event—it is something that occurs in the world and it is not until that occurrence is judged that it becomes anything other than neutral—in this way, nothing is bad in worldview.more
By Kirk Shellko
It arrived before our time. Indeed, it arrived before our country. It was present before the glorious revolution that brought what freedom we have. It was there before our automobiles, before our buildings with electronic culture and convenience and running water. It came before our gathering into societies and before our language; it was here before our religions and before our ability to discern what “here” is. It was before our race and before the species that arrived before our race was able to understand anything that arrived before we did. It came before our hills and before our mountains and it was here before the flowing water that begets life on the earth. It was here before our planet coalesced into a sphere, before the gasses of our sun gathered into plasma and burned its way into the sable black. It was before our solar system and before anything that arrived which caused our material to press into any thing at all. It was before anything that we can imagine, a kind of priority that we sense, but are unable to grasp. We can only know it in a...more
When my father died, I wrote the following eulogy. I thought that I would be able to speak the words clearly and smoothly, but I was unable to do so without periods of silence and tears. In his memory I am delivering it today without tears, but with fondness. I hope he would have liked it.
The philosopher Martin Heidegger believed correctly that language is primary to human culture. When we speak we assert, we bring something forth while revealing it. When we assert, we build structure and when we build an edifice with language, we construct a home. Language is where we humans reside. Entire cultures are fashioned from it; perspective cannot exist without it, and wars are waged because of things said. Language is part of the very foundation of our being. My father was not a wordsmith; he was a carpenter. He never would have claimed to have built a home with his words, but he would claim to have built a house with wood and concrete. He did not recognize completely the home he built with words.
“Always think positive,” he said in a firm voice, like a manly handshake....more
By Kirk Shellko
Dr. Stefan Grundstein (1924- ) is a world-renowned philosopher, scientist and philologist. Educated at the University of Heidelberg, Dr. Grundstein has published seventeen books on the epistemology of Kant, the ontology of Heidegger and the phenomenology of Hegel. Excerpted here with his permission is a tract of his now-famous lecture from his book “Aus Nichts zu Nichts” on the topic of Nothing, delivered at the University of Wittenberg in Springfield, Ohio. Dr. Grundstein is famous for “attempting the impossible”, a distraction he claims has been his since early childhood.
In a tiny seat on an exceptionally tiny airplane with only three seats across the entire aisle sat I contentedly when a thick, smelly foul-mouthed child near me sat. The captain said “Turn your electronic devices off”, and the kid noticed him not. He was playing a game with little popping balls or such something. I wanted him to throttle. That brings me to mind: I must the garbage out-take. It makes fun, through garbage to look, so long as you gloves wear. The right kind can you at...more
Mede Albright had unlocked the door. The cylindrical knob released an air-sealed hatch and the white gate, open to space, slid so lightly ajar. Now he was able in fine to impel his seemingly weightless mass into that terrifyingly beautiful panorama of deep blue hue; crisp white cold; green-brown terra. A great stretch of nothing separated him, seemingly, from descent toward his mother. The earth seemed to lie just outside his grasp and Mede seemed to lie just outside hers. Once the door was open, the only separation between Mede and oblivion would be the nylon-enhanced cord that anchored him to his orbit-researcher. He hesitated one fleet moment. This was, after all his toil and task-work, a moment of truth. He had spent his life’s blood and time painfully exerting for this moment, his final goal was at hand, and this was a milestone reserved for prayer, at least if he were the religious sort. He was not, but he was pious. He paused in thought; meditated on his childhood home; cogitated over his wife and unborn daughter; pondered his mentor, Edwin...more
Frederick needed a shave and he knew it. His hair grew in thick patches everywhere, practically, on his body; none was thicker than here on his face. His hair needed only a few hours to emerge on his chin and no matter how closely he ran the thin piece of metal across his face, he was unable to prevent the quick onslaught of raven hair from appearing in so brief a time. Once, when he was visting pigeons, park-animals and observing children in a park he noticed a young girl watching him. Thinking nothing of the matter at first, he went about his business, feeding the birds and the animals who recognized him as one source of food. They loved this man – as they sometimes loved man – more than they realized. He had given these animals sustenance, that’s true, but he also captured one or two of them on occasion, such occasioning wounded paws or other unseen incapacitating maladies. This frighteningly tall creature would grab them; somehow they would fall asleep unwilling and when they awoke, they felt better – just right even – and then these animals went about their...more
Frederick knew he was odd. His body stretched radically tall, and he lacked the muscle-mass to set height proportionate. His strength made him wiry, and to some he seemed…grotesque. No clothes adequately covered that stretched Frederick, yet he was forced to go out in public with the longest of pants still shorts on his nearly eight foot frame. His skin colored him mustard with a light hint of pink hue in-mixed. His face was a gourd; his eyes were clay-head buttons; no comeliness present. His overstretched fingers gave friendship and familiarity to others, and even though he did not pester, even though he was polite and in no way pernicious, strange encounters plagued him. When he approached children, they gave him first a quizzical look, and realizing that they were confronted by the highest of oddities, sometimes ran away and other times, yes, screamed, their alarmed mothers moved to accuse Frederick of the most outlandish of things. Adults avoided him most times, but placed a friendly air on their persons when with him. When he remained quiet and still, others appeared to like...more
Ian is dead. Do not misunderstand me. Ian walks around the city; he eats at Cipher’s; Ian sleeps in a comfortable well-coushioned bed, a somnus felicitatis I believe.
Yet Ian is dead.
He looks for good news and hopes for the best; he reads The Sun Times; he collects coupons for deals in Hispanic groceries in his small town of nilpolis. He does little of nothing, he wanders and scribbles and computes and saves and deletes, but Ian is dead. Ian cogitates just enough to lay a claim to thought; he reads The New Republic. He scoffs at political activism and growls at the inane ramblings of his local minister. He opines that life’s goal is pleasure and his means is intellect. He cheats on his wife and leers at his secretary. Ian is dead. He has published a few books and looks forward to his career as an academic; he reads original scripts and publishes minor articles in ever more minor journals like “The Diseased Muse" and “The Onus of Logos.” He enjoys playing with words, but he cannot be said to truly love any expression or thing. He owns an animal or two, but when...more
Police are investigating the brutal murder of a Yellow pages telephone advertising book that occurred in the 7300 north block of Chicago. The victim, a thick yellow mass of capitalism, seemed to have been inoffensively sitting outside of a local residence awaiting entrance. Other local Yellow pages were interviewed outside of the condominium complex, but none claimed to have witnessed any wrong-doing. Police chief Malice commented that "it's suspicious that no other Pages, including the menus lying around, witnessed anything. We are looking into the matter with all the necessary resources."
The event seemed trivial to some, like Nick Rover who regularly meanders about the block where the murder took place.
"I don't understand what's going on," Rover said "This sort of thing happens all the time and no police ever been around here looking. Why now?"
Others suspect that the Yellow pages was a member of an elite group of texts performing participant observation research in the area.
"So many Yellow pages have been brutalized around here and no-one ever did...more