"Arbitrage," "Shutter," and "Funerary Meaning"


Fog rises from statues in Bergen, from a unicorn’s neck

and from a girl’s long hair that falls across it.  She loves

the creature and does not want it to leave; but its

blank, distant eyes seem to understand that it must

soon dissolve, only to come again in a fine

mist, to inherit the earth.  Before Olive Oyl, Sweet Pea,

Bluto, and Wimpy, there were cave-days on the desolate shore,

surf’s incessant thunder, Sea Hag’s cackle and dirty tricks,

cold hours, life-and-death with bald zombies that looked so much

like him.  So out of rock soil he scratched a plot for that strange,

green leaf.  Yes, that rhyme, too.  Topographically organized

maps of auditory space and of the body surface

in the superior colliculus can therefore

orient the eyes (and the head) in response to

a variety of different sensory stimuli.




The fjords:  silver harp string coiled over a thousand miles.

She molded horrible animals out of the soil, then

set them loose.  He who feigns a winged horse, does not

therefore admit that a winged horse exists; that is,

he is not deceived, unless he admits in addition

that a winged horse does exist.  In Oslo, the white grounds

and white, enclosing swirl dull the yellow of their

palace.  Farther down that long, gray line  --  Karl Johans Gate  --  

by the National Theatre, Bjornson and Ibsen

stand, bronze eyes contemplating nothing.  All sinister acts

are sheet-lightning portending the real thing, chaotic

elements that precede creation.  Only sky,

the old land of ancient bear, ancient fox,

and on the ground, only a black, lensed box,

already always old, already always cracked.



Funerary Meaning

Although saccades can occur in complete darkness,

they are often elicited when something attracts

attention and the observer directs the foveas

toward the stimulus.  Are there any spirits entirely

separated from matter?  Each of these creatures is a world

of its own light, milky-white, soft galaxy, inhaling,

exhaling cloud-edges, bulbing orange-eye center up.  What

miracles grew from the ground she tilled.  But then

how ridiculous would be the effect of names

on things, if they were exactly the same with them!  For

they would be doubles of them, and no one would be able to

determine which were the names and which were the realities.



Joel Chace

Joel Chace has published work in print and electronic magazines such as Lana Turner, Survision,  Eratio, OtolithsWord For/Word, Golden Handcuffs Review, New American Writing, and The Brooklyn Rail.  His full-length collections include matter no matter, from Paper Kite Press, Humors, from Paloma Press, Threnodies, from Moria Books, fata morgana, from Unlikely Books, and Maths, from Chax Press.  Underrated Provinces is due out from Mad Hat Press in 2024.  For more than forty years, Chace was a working jazz pianist.  He is an NEH Fellow.  Joel recommends supporting locofo chapbooks.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 07:31