I wake up in an Arc.tic Eur.ope, my clothes are covered with mark.ings, wo.ven to lea.ves –
I count out 8 Salix Boloria, with my nails, and whisper the
rocky, submarginal dark through my lips --
Suki, I must find her.
Triangles fall from my voice into the air, and frozen, sty there before me, before my breath, I speak of Albert, the inventor and my mouth most wide — breathes in arctic willow
(except, occasionally, other spots of Discal cell) Numero Uno, and down lands an astronaut, her and I, we've parallel branch
( n. )with basal spot
invaded by the darker
adjacent colors or silvery white;
I found my dear friend Aif today. He was sitting in a coal mine shaft, outside of the Arctic, whispering something frozen and long dead, into the air. His body was so badly broken, and malformed, I hardly recognized him. The skin and bones had fused together, and since frozen, into a mutation of four or even five separate type two bodies; I picked him up, and threw him onto our ship, to get him warm. He seems in very bad shape, I must feed him and get him plenty of water, and also he needs rest. I am glued to his hip, so to speak from now on. Another body for him to collect.
We devour Fo.od pl.ants, and l.ight from Ka.nsa.s together, sitting at a checkerboard table. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
re.d is ex.tend.ing forward in her helmet reflection,
multiple orange (except Vesta Millicta)
Athalia Ambigua come forward, animating on the china.
Callophrys south we spin the ship, clutching
brooded flowers in our astronauts suits,
We are connected wing, spinning, blurry, tooth like line across space, but central gray in the blurred center.
We hit new Juniperus.
Time has a way of delaying, and then summing up, extending to infinity, and then condensing into a small Rubix ship, flying through the galaxy Andromeda. My crew consists of two others and myself. Yellow, the pixie girl, and Sam our driver. They smoke a lot of pot, and are extremely lovely people.
For now, I must take care of Aif.
"Static up ahead." Sam grumbles, pulling back a silver hand lever, and I watch as a thick covering moves over the window of the ship, a plastic like shield.
"Got it!" He says.
"Yellow, you are totally on point today!" Suki Says, hanging over my bed, and holding my hand.
Three of the four bodies have already melted away from mine, and are twitching on the glass table next to me.
"So this is where the party is, huh Suki?" She doesn't recognize my voice, and is still talking to Yellow, the specialists engineer, I suppose.
"Shhh, you need to rest, you are very sick."
I guess I'm dying or something. At least it’s what Suki keeps saying at night, crying over me. But I feel okay.
We are headed back to the 1300s on our vessel with an old friend, and a good crew. Today, Aif spoke a little, and I had to quiet him, because he is dying, he doesn't realize it, but he is dying on me. When the bodies of the three others attached to his body, they drained him of his life force, his nutrients for so long, and I feel so guilty I couldn't find him in time, I searched everywhere, looking for Aif. One day he just up and disappeared, Evaporated into nothingness, And I thought it was just a trick, so he would re-appear in the moment, pop right up next to me, and we would continue frolicking. Time is hard to compare to how long it's been, maybe years, maybe centuries, maybe only moments. The day I dressed up in a detective suit, and searched the whole of the universe with my magnifying glass, and my gum shoes was when I went deep into the nineteen twenties, see? Smoked cigars with cool cats, in jazz clubs, drank with the best of 'em, smoked heroin, searched Manhattan every night for a fix, and for Aif, see?
Meanwhile Aif had been stuck in Billy, something I had not thought to check, since I never go to Billy, knowing what that place is.
They had him up on the news many times, the most televised, and frustrating story of his life there. Yeah, Aif got trapped in Billy, Did some bad shit there. They took him out there, and turned his life into a western movie, saddled up on old Betsy, carrying his six shooter, yeah Aif had become the town sheriff of the hamlet. I saw it all in movie theater Plastic, back in the twenties, they had these silent pictures then, and I was out with some old buddies, shooting the shit.
There was old Aif on screen shooting at some robbers, gambling and riding into the distance on an old whirlwind. He must have hated living like The for so long; to live inside a place you don't understand, with wilting boots, blossoming guns, throwing knives, Aif isn't strong like this, he's a lover, he's not a fighter.
So, I went on a few trips across the small grocery store towns, looking for him. I looked everywhere, around every last corner, through every hobo jungle, I watched years pass by, in those old towns, looking for Aif'rean, looking for the town of Billy, no one ever heard of, they pointed me in one direction, and I'd go looking, and then the people I'd find there, they'd send me in the other direction where I just came from; the fruit cans hanging in the trees clanging pots and pans together was the sound of Billy. When I finally did find Aif, they had hanged him from the limbs of a willow tree, and he was swinging there, back and forth, dead. Leaning over flames of brass liquor store towns in my boots~ I cut him down from the tree, and dragged his body here to my cabin, my ship.
Concocting a violence so strong not even Billy could muster back a fight, I planned to build a cement hovel for weary travelers, teach them the art of fight, and send em out to search who done this. Ignition realm, all dust on boots and hands on night, boys singing shirtless lullabies, long legged, long dancing … I planned out a real nightmare chess game for 'ol head of state, Billy boy.
People in town said I was just spinning yarn, since nobody had ever seen old Billy, himself. He never showed his face. Some said he didn't exist at all, and he was a figment of the imagination. I believed different, Billy boy was just as real as you and I, he just used people, a body snatcher, climb inside and take over, his hand shoved into your ass like you're a skin puppet. I'd find him, find his source. The team I'd built of trained fighters was already up to the thousands, old billy'd becoming sneaking around town sometime. We'd be ready.
Whispers of flute sound behind me, as the gang practices their meditations, every whisper a flute or an oboe, or drum or a trumpet, depending on the meditation. Every radio whispers a new day to life in the morning as I keep watch. It was Saturday, I remember . The day we took back his soul.
Aif comes back to life on a monday with a flute in his hands, I was just leaving for breakfast when I seen him rise, and waken. A miracle, maybe, or just me, hallucinating, either way my soul repaired.
"Lets get you outta here." I threw his body onto the horse, and crossed back over to the guides cabins. This is where we been since separated years ago, the day when we met Albert the inventor. She says Aif is getting better, his body had been removed from his soul, by Billy, but found its way back, by me, Suki. She points to me. I have always wondered what time does to the soul, does it wear it down if left hanging in a tree? Does time slowly pull the remains to the ground using gravity? Does the cave in the arctic represent the willow in Billy, how many of us are out there, waiting to be saved, alone, tortured by our searching for something, out too long and running cold.
I will not mention names of the cloud.
I sit tight, (in time,) with Suki, holding her hand. I pass her forget me nots, letting her know in a subtle way I love her. She tells me I am barely alive, and I still need rest. But I am fully alive, my heart is warmed by the one who is next to me. It is my secret I keep from her.
Surrounding us are life rafts floating in the waters of space. I'm not sure what galaxy this is, but I know it's not Billy, that's for sure. I imagine green shoots of fresh leaves, as they weave along the bones of the sea, but it is just my first body, when I met Suki in the last life, sculpted on Kook Island, wrapping in long stems of the tree, which in all of my scavenged garden must have dropped an apple seed into the sand. How it grew, I have no idea. “Where were you?” I watch the seed grow, woven by hand in the old baskets which hold our next soul. I close my eyes, and Suki whispers to me about floating down the highway, on her floatation device, and laughs. I ride next to her on my woven tree branches, lapping up baskets full of stars and splashing them on her.
My bones piled on those sandy shores of Kook Island are a monolith.
My name is Ri(e)ka, I am your guide. I am the voice responsible, the voice can cancel out all the sword, and fucked around, certainly fucked around inside out ... violences of hominids. Waiting, as we've seen here, can take a long, long time, for a next existence to breathe the boat back to life, take a little sip of radio to the throat and muscle, tongue lapping and boat lapping in circles, round the flames breathing up the hobo jungle light, flames.
We are the humans going to Mars, these are the right diamonds to use for the ham radio. I need to know something about you for a while, that you will be glowing, and right inside, floating simplicity, under the stars and galaxy. Forming the tongue turning, and glass hair curled up, by fire and heat, more and more into long strands of dripping-glass-hair; so burned bright [light bright] simplicity. Across the waterfall, beneath the galaxy, and stars beneath, sipping radio; promise something to the galactic form. Promise you will glow, and not blacken. EM knows how far you’ve gone into the galaxy. 17 years into the galaxy. You continue surfing the catacombs of your old nighttime vision, thinking of existing again, everything illuminated. You are healed to move forward. A lot of these things cause the surface of your mouth to wax into a form, so teddy bears are the words you speak to infinity, it's fine by me. The stars, the galaxy above you, below you, all around you, inside you, little cute bears who pop out the tongue, and float free the space, causing cloud and puffed stuffing. This is your language, and foreign tongue.
Fin Sorrel is the author of of Caramel Floods, stories (pski porch, 2017) and Sand Library, a poem (ABP, 2018). He is the founding Editor at Mannequin Haus. Fin recommends the RVA Light Community.