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..:: CONTENTS ::..
   Volume VII, Issue II

..:: POETRY ::..


..:: PROSE ::..
..:: OTHER ::..

..:: ETC ::..
   Contributor's Notes

..:: ARCHIVES ::..
   Volume I, Issue I
   Volume I, Issue II
   Volume II, Issue I
   Volume II, Issue II
   Volume III, Issue I
   Volume III, Issue II
   Volume IV, Issue I
   Volume IV, Issue II
   Volume V, Issue I
   Volume V, Issue II
   Volume VI, Issue I
   Volume VI, Issue II
   Volume VII, Issue I

 
Prose


from Albumen
Charles Freeland

The lines run parallel to the earth where it is mounded up and shaped by hands that have long since disappeared. We interpret the lines differently than we interpret the mounds of earth, as if each had a different message to convey. But this might simply be a matter of our training, which was, despite what we might have believed at the time, slipshod and cursory. It was the sort of thing that leads people to hunt their ancestors in databases rather than in the ground. And yes, it's possible I have overstated the significance of this moment, but all moments are significant now and therefore run the risk of overstatement. At any rate, the patterns remind one of a serpent when observed from around ten feet off the ground, which we confirm for ourselves by climbing the nearest fir trees, standing about fifty yards apart, and signaling to one another with our hands. Two thumbs held within a millimeter of each other signify the object of our observation has indeed morphed into something comprehensible to the human mind. While all of the fingers made to wiggle independently means it's getting late and the moon is high and full. The bed awaits. I have probably left the window open so that if it rains, both the sheets on the bed and the carpet on the floor next to the bed will be soaked and cold to the touch, and this, no doubt, will make you wish we had agreed on Santa Fe instead.

In which there can be no two substances in the universe sharing both attribute and nature. If there were, they would require something to distinguish them but such distinction stems primarily from differences in attribute or from the affections between substances. Your substance and my substance stem from affection but there can be no difference between them. Therefore substance and difference are incompatible and must be joined as one. Differences in attribute filter down to us the way differences in region eventually render differences in idiom and recipe. Substance is always prior to its affections but our affection runs prior to its substance, even causes it. This makes us the exception and therefore that which must be emulated. (begin Proof) by the sun and the moon and the other primal substances that seem at first glance to precede us but in fact owe their existence to the generosity of our affection. P5 & Continuation (of Proof but not P4) When we look for the many in the one what we are doing is attempting to generate an abstract machine, the levers of which are always on the back side of it and difficult to access. Some suggest the machine has no levers but operates instead on the principle of levers which means the principle is present without the machinery required to put the principle into practice. I, for one, consider this a dead end theory, one with little going for it other than the testimony of a handful of formidable experts and the possibility of producing results that have already been produced. Wouldn't it make more sense to attempt to rid ourselves of everything smacking of levers and just relax by the river instead, searching the bank for herons and other wading birds that stand as tall as a ten year-old child and glance at the world out of the corner of their eyes as if they couldn't be bothered to believe in the reality of that which presents itself through the agency of the eyes? As if the wealth of what presents itself to us is argument enough against its existence as more than a single undifferentiated thing?

In which a composite of objects differentiated from one another retains its identity despite the differences between the objects that make it up. These differences are of a kind referred to as quantitative and include characteristics such as momentum and rest. We are composed of one body and so the parts that inform other bodies do not affect us in the same way they affect other bodies. Another way of stating this is that we are continually beset by objects both at rest and in motion but we are not influenced by them the way a composite of such objects is. Therefore we are not at rest or in motion but rather both at the same time, a fact the illustration of which might be provided should our intention be to write treatises on the full body and not some other thing, such as the parts of the body when they are acting independently of each other.

No sooner have I bounded down the stairs than I realize my heel is bruised and walking will be out of the question for a week. It's the same sort of incident that gets drawn up and analyzed in the textbooks you find moldering on shelves at the bookstore where an enormous cat sits at the front counter and the customers are expected to take note of it both on their way in and on their way out, but if you don't, if you refuse to be distracted from your single-minded mission to seek out Robert Ludlum or the Legal History of the Kiowa Indian, those behind the counter will stare daggers at you, and if not daggers, then sewing needles which, if numerous enough, can cause a similar sort of injury. I wish there were rocks everywhere of the sort we sat on yesterday, with words carved into them, words composed by someone long since swallowed up by the greedy maw of time and immortalized (or at least the carving was paid for) by this person's father who one imagines wallowing a while in grief then resuming whatever activities kept him occupied before the advent of this disaster. Sure, I would then be made eternally aware of the things about me that cause you enormous irritation and threaten to send you running for the nearest chemistry lab or replica of a World War II Flying Fortress (like that which circles overhead, in my neighborhood at least, every other Tuesday). But who wouldn't long for the communion otherwise available only in the deepest parts of the forest, where the sunlight passes tentatively through outsized spider webs and when people pass you on the trails, they suggest representatives of some other creature, an almost incomprehensible form of early human being arrived from the pre-dawn mists of history and the relatively difficult-to-access portions of our globe?

The explosives barely disturb the trees, but those of us with little or no patience run for the street corner and hunker down under a tarp with intricate mold patterns splashed across it. These get illuminated by the lights in the sky and I try to ignore the murmuring and whimpering of the others present by attempting to find recognizable shapes in these patterns. Our failures suggest we were not designed properly and ought to be returned to our various places of origin. Whether this be the laboratory or the Moab desert. Eulalie stresses the need for silence by saying the words out loud, and this inconsistency causes each of us to chuckle a little under our breath, though we do not intend this (at least most of us) as an insult. It simply means that we are all very fond of Eulalie and wish that she would make her appearances more regularly and that the costumes she wears wouldn't smell so strongly of ammonia. I suppose a similar interpretation would be that which was presented at the town meeting when none of us was present. We heard about it later when we were invited to the pier for the king crab celebration and we anticipated both real and imitation versions of the creature the celebration was named after. What we received instead was invective of the sort that never fails to make one man hate another, that causes otherwise sane adults to fling themselves from high places and trust that they will land safely in the branches of a tree or an awning with the name of a four-star restaurant printed on it in large letters. Eulalie takes a needle she has heated in a candle flame and applies it to the flesh on her arm where something has apparently been aggravating the skin for a long time. So long in fact we're not even sure there is any skin there; it has the appearance and consistency of wax, and whenever you get close enough to examine it, to see for yourself what it is made of, she excuses herself and steps outside to puff on a cigar. Certainly, the moonlight is sufficient to pursue such investigations, but it's best to leave Eulalie to her own devices when she is in these reticent moods, because if you don't, if you pursue matters despite her attempts to distance herself from you, the best you can hope for is a cutting word, an aphorism adapted from Voltaire and aimed at your weakest point, delivered with all the precision and accuracy one expects of a jeweler tapping at the fault in a diamond.

 

 

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