Table Thirty-Eight: Joseph Suglia

The sky is darker now. The amber streetlights give off their dull glow. It all seems so pointless. Why are the streetlights flashing? Isn’t this the end of the world?

Nearly every building is enrobed in green vines. Every building you pass is enrobed in green vines. The vegetative growth is all-englobing now.

The human spaces are narrowing, as most spaces are filling up with so many non-human primates, and other non-human mammals, reptiles, birds, and with so much lushly spreading flora.

All of the hipsters are gone. All of the artsters are gone. All of the football killers are gone. They are forever vanished.

An amphitheatric mass of human life is migrating toward Lake Michigan, boarding ships, moving away from the city-parasitic vegetation.

They are chartering ships to better places, but from what you have heard, the distant shores are infected with the vegetative virus and infested with chattering chimpanzees.

There are no better places.

Look at the yacht. The yacht in Lake Michigan.

Ferocious waves assault the craft, the yacht adrift on the wavy waves.

Churning and turning, the waves are colliding with the stern.

A complement of passengers, as if going on a whaling expedition, funnels into the streets. They are headed for Lake Michigan. There will be phantom whales swimming and circling in the lake.

All of these phantomic shapes, they are the shapes of humans who evacuated the apartment buildings, condominiums, and houses in which they once dwelled.

Like tourists, human beings now know what it is like to inhabit a foreign planet—a planet that is shifting to the next phase, to the phase after the Anthropocene.

Fizzing with excitement, children with frizzly blond and brown hair are dancing in circles around the baobab as the day fizzles to its close.

Prowling bulls are on the prowl.

Bovines are munching on diseased corpses in the moonlight. Odious offal and unsubsiding slime. Out of the gaping void of an open sewer slithers a galvanic annelid.

There is a child caught in the tree. The child turns into a hissing beast. The tree entangles the child in its branches. The child’s frame distends and warps.

The flamingos have gathered. As you look them over, the flock explodes into a tornado of pink feathers, leaping into the air and flying away.

The flamingos lift into higher strata of air, charging the clouds.

The eyes of the tigers catch the glare of the flashlights. The tigers’ eyes are luminously green like foxfires.

A mob of humans is moiling in front of the bakery. They are hungry for bread, croissants, and pretzels. Around the bakery spreads a milky emollient.

Your search has turned into a negative search, a search that leads to nothing.

Clad in a blouse the color of an orange Creamsicle, she walks in the street alone. The woman walks in the street alone.

She has orange Creamsicle-hued skin, a thin sheet wrapped around muscle, tissue, and bone.

She is wearing white sandals and a denim skirt. Her hair is bound.

She has a crocodilian nose and jaw.

Sitting on a pile of beer-bottle rubble is a boy of sixteen springs. He throws beer bottles into the street. The beer bottles shatter in the street.

His T-shirt reads I Only Date MILFs.

Like peasants dancing a rustic dance, humans join hands and sing “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts.

There is a moon bear, walking upright, humanly, imitating the human gait and doing a better job of it than most humans.

Gradually slipping monster shadow, the raincloud loosens itself from the sky.

Translucent dripping from the sky—it is raining.

It is raining. The rain is hammering you.


Milk is raining down from the sky.

Inundated by the rushing storm, the crowd retires beneath the awnings.

Now, the streets are all running with milk.

The cars are splashing through the milk.

A bus is humming past you. The bus cleaves the milk.

Waves of cheese sauce ripple across the street like galvanic currents.

There is a police officer, with his hands akimbo. A whishing bosom of milk sloshes up to his knees.

Further down the street, a firefighter is chiseling the street open with a jackhammer. A geyser of milk spurts out of the hole and into his visored face.

Hardy big men are bucketing the milk, the sloshy milk juice.

Milk is pouring out of the sewer grates. Milk is pouring into the sewer grates.

There is a middle-aged woman, standing alone. Her lavender T-shirt reads Cougar in Training. Rain is soaking her clavicle.

Women—in their thirties, in their forties, in their fifties, in their sixties—are squatting on the curb. They are stretching out their bare white and brown legs. Immersing their feet in the streaming, rushing flood of milk that pours through the sewer grates, the women sigh and extend their toes.

Across the street, squatting on the curb, a woman is bathing her ankles in the milk that gushes from the sewer grates.

Another woman, nearly naked, is immersing herself in the milk flood. She is rolling around on the street, smiling a maniacal smile.

The opacities of milk are not like water’s specular surfaces, and yet a woman is stooping down and peering into the milk as if she would spy her own reflection within.

You look through the window of the art gallery. Is it an art gallery? Within the milk-lagooned room are marooned humans, standing on crates and barrels.

You walk over the spreading ice cream liquescence. Rivulets of milk are flowing into your shoes.

It is animal-hiding foam, for there are animals hidden in the foam.

A moose head sinks, submerging into the milk, feeding on vegetation at the bottom of the lake.

A McDonald’s arches are holding up above the waves.

It is as if a sterile tank had exploded, as if a dairy silo had exploded.

You imagine daemons with hammers smashing a dairy.

The milk deluge is coming. The thrusts of milk are coming. They cavitate the flesh of the city, colonizing its cavities like pluckily spunky spelunkers, thrusting themselves ever-more deeply inside of the city’s insides—streams of milk rushing and gushing through the city’s orifices, jamming them with jam, stopping up the gaps, walling up the holes, cementing the cracks, squeezing themselves into the canals, filling up the city with spumy cream, cream that rises to the height of the John Hancock Tower and the Sears Tower, filling the city with its fullness and warmth. The nourishing sustenance of the cream.

A violent rush bursts from the ground, clouding the sky with spurting milk. You gape unbelievingly at the geyser of milk as it ascends into the sky. Rivulets of milk flow into the fast-food restaurants and liquor stores and grocery stores and convenience stores. Slender-nosed gharials are slithering through the rivulets of milk as the rivulets of milk unspool down Clark Street. The gharials slither through the oases of the sun.

Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia


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