Of course, it is only a story, but we can live in it. So I ask the moist new version for
a towel. I pause and try to change my attitude. Then I do change my attitude.
So then I speak and the way I do it the edges of the words get so sharp they could
have been mitered. Ah, but do they fit together? you ask. And lest you be tricked by the
verbal geometry that such questions entail, imagine the unreasonable surface of even
simple words when slowed and carefully examined. Slice that down. Way down. Layer
by layer, we arrive at our part in the assembly and it’s very very small indeed but not
altogether insignificant. It still has an edge. The tricky part is, it’s yours now.
So let’s imagine for a moment that you are the young girl about to enter such a
complication. We know, of course, that you are probably much older and perhaps not
even the same gender, but imagination is a wonderful thing and it’s difficult not to have a
little empathy for a young girl with a sad look on her face. You see, she’s already
suspicious of her place in the world. Her pink socks sag over the tops of her shoes, and
this is not as it should be.
You may have noticed that when you stand back from these words, they look very
simple and crude. Don’t do that.
Instead let’s watch the old man who hauls leaves and yard trash. The children trust
him. When the children jump on the back of his cart, he raps them on the head with a
I’m sorry, but they like it.
Just then another child runs by with a wooden hoop, clacking it with two sticks and
tossing it into the air as she runs.
Well, Mr. Thank-you-very-much, Mrs. Not-responsible, Ms. Distance, pull up your
pink socks and listen for a minute, okay?
Perhaps you have a little sister who isn’t dying of leukemia. Perhaps you have a
mother who loves you. Or used to before she died. Perhaps there is a story you remember
about them that hasn’t been told here.
Do you feel any pain yet?
It’s only a conjecture, but it hurts, I know it does.
So you pause, feeling cornered, and try to change your direction. But to what?
How long do you think you can avoid such pain?
And here’s a fresh schoolgirl with an old purpose. She is smiling. She is kind. She
is trying to be the Mother of God because the world always needs saving and sex makes
sense this way. Next year the tingling starts.
And here’s a man carrying her stone from one place to another. If you need a
reason for this, think about hands. Think about the same word over and over in different
clothing. Try to change your attitude.
Fiction. Modern Abstract Fables.
(First edition, hardcover with dustjacket, 524 pages, $36.50 USD.)
Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days draws from fairy tales, a condescending of a 1938 Social Studies reader for 6th grade, an 1890 handbook on marital compatibility, numerous annoying educational advancement studies, the myths and legends of third-world countries and minority peoples, pulp fiction, a history of carnival side shows, folktales, frequent conversations with Crows, Owls and a wide variety of underground inhabitants, insects and the people who collect them, Joseph Cornell, Günter Eich, Russell Edson, the French Surrealist poets, the Quay Brothers, letterpress printing, and the author’s inability to channel his imagination linearly.
Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.