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On the other side, Nattie wandered about, fumbling in an invisible lake of infections.  She had been experiencing the poorly suppressed conjunction of here and there, the crazed bridge that strings time and space beneath the unremitting rush of maternity.

Dark pages were now lined up, rising in nasty spasms of blue-flowering wind. 

What luck…the lake was almost ready to part.

Soon she would be able to breathe in the stain and blur of the coming storm.  A crowd of blind doctors and legless nurses had managed to tumble from the last skiff and cup their eyes, for the final time, to the floor. 

Her mind was behind a dent in the rectum of light.  For almost a week, minutes turned into months until she decided. 

With her staff, Nattie gestured to the next number in the calendar and said, “A woman sings of questions in the trees, of a fisherman taken to Africa.  What used to happen is now happening.  We pass the wall, coughing, and speak.  We trip over our eyes.  To exhale the fullness of her name, we make a sick God with the pain of our lips.  We raise a stone cross above the shore of some surgical river.  We fashion God’s unreachable masks.  Then we mask a still thought in ink.”


By angled decree, Matt was the only one allowed to outline the parabolic text, secured as it was under the fretted shadow of the sun.  The dead crew was slowly tumbling over the steeples as the main boat pulled out a little to the west. 

Ginny had been in exile in a rubber dress, desperate to memorize the dark minutes of the keening moths.  It’s as if her thinking, cut short, had almost thought precisely what she didn’t know — or hadn’t known since Matt had answered the mute, whimpering mouth of the sea.

Drifts of horse hair fell to the floor. 

“Look down at the heap,” he said, “there is a door exactly where the flies discuss and watch us. So drive the company motorcycle carriage over the worn streets, over medical towels into the indigo square. Even as you hear the spoken text rolling by, the other primary text must not stop.”

Matt once had a child’s faith in a Crow woman’s gaze, in the senior tint of her hair.

“Must we barber words left behind by Harvard-trained citizens? Must we rescue a popular song from the most arrogant opposition? Surely their station falls like a mast. ”

The unspoken curve of meaning shattered into fifty-six multi-specialty suns.

Blind book, eye agape. After seven nights under familiar cloud, Matt let the poor dog rest on the shore. All the windows of his found text turned brown, though there was enough stuff for his unit to practice.

Long while, promise of sun.

We thought we could ultimately sleep beside the body but we would need more time for death to wake the corpse.


Darting beneath the years, a serpentine second tried to find signs of breath before the lips of the future.

Word was received that Dido’s ghost couldn’t be sealed in the gashes and fractures of the monument despite the company’s constant and familiar pressure for modernization. It had become second nature. They were unwilling, by any practice, to rewrite the latest code in primitive figures, to ensure that the new might hold the old as if in a hospital.

With the jackrabbit-quick rhythm of disaster, the massive spine of the real rose, derailed, from scattered waters. Deaths lined the banks, too numerous to mention. That night, we changed the pale, brindled limbs of causalities, and in the morning, their souls milled around the corners over the eaves.

Matt had expressly bathed The Book of Bruises in blue rain and gravel, yet the accident created another brittle but invaluable queen.

Did you hear the miners of the inaccessible archive? Asleep underground, on locked shelves, they dream of adrenaline.

Next, we sensed an injured being cutting the other books…there, along the possible edge, wherever the smallest hours rolled down into the deep.
Posted 07/28/12
This text is a mash-up of COMPANY OF MOTHS (2005), the tenth book by Michael Palmer, the poet, and FATAL (2002), the tenth medical thriller by Michael Palmer, the novelist. No Michaels were harmed during the making of this composition.
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