glass bodies 71 80

the ecology student

along a stretch in the stream of ancient stars, I first discovered Dr Firn’s scarlet spaceship racing across the
northern sky. Pulsing at half a million miles an hour, its mind had a diameter of the full moon. Aboard it, he
had created a whole eco-system. He and his wife, in an attempt at human enterprise for happiness and justice, had
been pilgrims across the galaxy. On large scales gravity operates on a different level. Among the dark and lonely
reaches of this multi-verse, Dr Firn had been a probability, and orphaned travellers have continued to follow his orbit
long after his parent cluster has dissolved completely away. There may be hundreds of even thousands of such stellar
scientists and humans ringing in our galaxy. And yet my discovery is precious. In recent years I have found myself
going back to the memory of his wise words, his humble demeanour, and the wonders of his celestial gardens.
To push through a vast foreground of stars, to lead the way gently pointing out the direction, indicating that the
original cluster was not torn apart violently. Sitting there under the shade of unaided trees, at a particular age
and distance, eating his carrot cake, finding a cosmic highway for morality, spanning more than 130 times the stream
of our knowledge, and yet holding out against the tidal forces of our Milky Way galaxy. His body may have rotten
in the ground in a nameless tomb on a nameless asteroid, and his companion wife may be holding out in grief. Yet
I do not despair in this time of war; I was lucky to be his friend, and while the digital sky may flicker and offer
thousands upon thousands of wicked, false truths, I can skim through the fake (be a friend to Orson Welles) and know
that many are currently trying to answer big questions. How far Dr Firn’s halo extends, I do now know – yet I do
know that the dark matter, spherical in shape, invisible, surrounds us. I am optimistic about the chances of humans,
our earth-bound eyes sometimes stray across a whole new universe. He was my friend, and I loved him.

glass bodies 61 70

the taoist

informal talking, breathlessly. you may think you know suffering. I am a master of nothing.

in this post-apocalyptic sky-scraping Europa, dolphins are not the only intelligent beings left.
what is the point of such intelligence if the door mat is now aware?
defy me, and you will encounter the wrath of my wife. I have two children, and they have me.
I used to think that you’d make a good student. You once wrote such excellent essays.
I trusted you with the blood of my blood, and this is how you repay me. You no longer
listen to the radio in the morning. You are such a cunt. My father was a soldier, and
my mother – not a saint. I used to be a fisherman. The lonely expanse of water.
You do not have a beginner’s mind. I used to think that you’d make a good student.
I used to think that you’d make a good student. I used to think that you’d make a good student.
Cycle, across the multi-verse, restlessly. Do not ever give up. My words are where my arse is.

Now finally, I see myself as I am. I am not a teacher, I am not a student. If Ch’an is what
you think you seek, then be else. What ends in Hellas, begins in Nihon. Just do it.
Sit still, now – your spine erect. Your hands in a mudra, do not waste my time. I do get angry.
Informally, I still retain my dignity. Formally, I am a man of knowledge. In the cup of tea, ten
ox-herding shadows, provisionally you may have noticed the traces. Drink up, and shut up. I banish

the forward homunculus from Malcontenta

there once was a man from Malcontenta
whose mind (and dick) was incredibly bent;
to save him the trouble, he put it in double,
and instead of coming, he went.

He went from Tessera to Campalto, and all
the way to Marghera, full of rage and gall,
for the evil foreigners, the Milanese,
the socialists, and the capital brusselese

had united in his fancy; his vanity could
not take any more slights, he was determined
to make his voice heard, his worldly knowledge
compelled him to fight for justice. For once

a supporter of the piccolissima Republic of
Venice, the mighty lion cub of the Adriatic,
he had missed the opportunity for xenophobia,
and had rallied behind a Milanese Capitalist,

And then behind a cock-sure rock-hard zealot
from Varese, all the way in enemy territory. And
if slighting southerners from Puglia had proved
a largely irrelevant enterprise, the hero of

this new age had rallied behind the comedian
from Genoa, whose literacy is par with his
wealth, and honour. The five-star legitimacy
of little men and women behind a green screen

further enlightened by their common hatred for
the outside, their lack of sleep, the beauty
of inter-galactic communication, and the ability
to speak in riddles, with propaganda as their

own machine-gun, and Truth (with a capital T)
by their side. “Great people such as these”, quote
our legendary hero from Malcontenta, “can surely
lead us back to the golden age, when the Republic

was great, when immigrants were holograms of the
unknown, when Brussels was a town in Latvia,
and when Donald was just a duck.” But sir! Nigel
is among us, and Marie joins Donald. Come to

the rally in St Mark’s square, all the wonders of
humanity are united, singing in unison: “Death
to the enlightenment! Long live Phascism! We love
Pootin! We love the world as it never was but as it

should be! We are a joyful band, outsiders may
starve, trade was established to embellish our
canals, slaves are just another market good from
Genoa! We are the future! We are one-track minded!”

So the man from Malcontenta joined the fray,
for he knew full well that his identity is just
a mind-trick. His own desire had been thwarted,
growing up among zealots he always had wanted to

be accepted, to become one; his darling father
would finally be proud of him. In the end, the
journey would be completed, and from infant to
child, from child to adolescent, and from adolescent

back to infant, in no less than four decades!
Il faut cultiver son jardin! Oh, wonder! How many
goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is!
Oh, Brave New World, that has such people in ‘t !