The Trump International Tower & Hotel is overgrown with rasping weeds.
The Aon Center is covered in throbbing fleshy pulsers, pulpy leathery leaves, and fibrous roots.
What was once the Chase Tower is now a gigantic green tower.
Lounging on a branch 1,000 feet above the ground, a puma stretches herself out, her thick, pendulous tail swinging, her eyes shining like the moon.
The AT&T Corporate Center is wrapped in bright-green vines. Rows upon rows of tall green stalks form a thickly and densely knotted green wallpaper.
Glaucous leaves, leaves with a will of their own, are embracing the forty-four-story red pillar-shaped building known as the CNA Center.
Tufty buttresses extending to the sky.
311 South Wacker Drive is flowering. Some of the flowers are a glistening translucent red. Other blooms are bright orange. Their petals seem almost liquid.
The Chicago Board of Trade Building is entrapped in knitted nets of green leaves and branches. So many tangles of vines. Wood rats camouflage themselves, bury themselves, tangle themselves in the nets of vines. They, the wood rats, are fearful of terrestrial and aerial predators, such as vultures and buzzards and coyotes and panthers.
111 South Wacker: Surrounding this massive building are tangles of foliage, groves, meadows, and a landfill teeming with fire ants. Flashing orange lights radiate around the rim of the building.
The building looms. It dominates. It engulfs space.
Humans come with baskets fastened to their heads, baskets full of tomatoes. They ascend a 681-foot ladder that reaches to the pinnacle of the humongous pillar.
Aluminum and glass buildings, with high-intensity lighting. Buildings with plane glass buckled in steel frames. So many castellated pepper shakers towering over you.
Looking at a forest where a Banana Republic once stood, you no longer recognize your city as your own. What was once your city has become a natural reserve, as the entire metropolis has grown into a zoöpolis, a city of animals. All of Chicago has metamorphosed into an immense zoo.
A raft of chocolate-colored giant otters swarms swimmingly into the half-abandoned Banana Republic. There, they taste the winterwear and the underwear.
The sky is turning a necrotic grey.
The Apple Store stands luminous and large. It is night. It is night, but the Apple Store stands out in the night. It is nearly a mile away from you, but you can see it shining in the night like a lantern in the night, like a lighthouse. The Apple Store is like a hole in the night, a white hole that perforates the fabric of the night. The night, it is as porous as a Lifestyles condom.
Even from this vast distance, the Apple Store looks pure—immaculate, even. All of the muck that comes from the outside is washed away. The Apple Store is an immaculate white cube. Bathed in a pellucid glow, the Apple Store welcomes animal, plant, and human life.
You see bear cubs filtering into the cube.
You scythe your way through the mobile hedges. Before you, across a narrow shopping-mall street, lies a T.J. Maxx. Someone—a rowdy mob, most likely—smashed in the windows, and now swift-footed impala and sable antelope are running through the windows and into the storefront. The sable antelope are sleek and glossy black with white patches on their faces and undersides. Their horns are magnificent—their movements are elegant, even as they are running at full speed. The impalas are graceful and nimble—to your human eyes, they seem both masculine and feminine at the same time. They dart into the T.J. Maxx.
Ibises and ibexes populate the Mega-Walgreens.
There is a Victoria’s Secret.
A gorilla in the Victoria’s Secret is fondly fondling the female undergarments.
A tapir is in the Victoria’s Secret, her puckered lips pluckily plucking the brassieres from the rack.
On the thong table, ferrets are thronging into the thongs.
A pack of seething ocelots and a family of wobbling capybaras are devouring the PINK lingerie.
Lions are tackling the Victoria’s Secret mannequins, gnawing at the Plasticine angel flesh.
A triad of zebra zips from Victoria’s Secret to Express for Men.
There is the Macy’s Shopping Center.
Like a ruinous castle, the Macy’s Shopping Center has become a home for denizens of the night, for humans stranded in a world that is becoming increasingly inhospitable and foreign to them.
See the people run into the Macy’s Shopping Center.
A dust cloud ascends as the wildebeest herd into the Macy’s Shopping Center, a bouncing stampede.
You zombie into the Macy’s Shopping Center.
Raising its branch-like horns, the red deer steps aside, admitting you to the temple.
The shopping center has become a bizarre ranch of free-ranging animals and plants, of strange fauna and flora.
The food court is smothered by palm trees and flowering foliage.
Swiftly running black cattle are coursing through the shopping-mall concourse.
The lion is weaving its way through the mannequin maze, its bristling white whiskers askew, its frozen orange irises glaring at nothing and at everything.
Spearing the mannequins with their curved lower tusks, the boars make their attack.
The striped tiger strikes the mannequins with awesome force. It gapes its flesh-slicing and bone-shattering jaws.
Slashing the curtains and the dresses and the pants and the dress shirts with their scimitar-like tusks, the boars are on a directionless rampage.
Acrobatically scaling the walls is an army of monkeys.
A lone-roaming coyote you see, running up the stalled escalator. The coyote’s snout is moist and curious, its teeth are sharper than pins, and its golden hide is covered with white tufts.
Streaming across the display area of the clothing department are long-horned antelope, smearing hazel stripes.
A mosaic of orangutan, aardvark, and black bear unfurls its canvas before you.
A tapestry of boar, emu, giraffe, flamingo, and caribou unfolds before you.
All of these animals move together. They move as one pack, as if woven together.
Roused to hunger, the black bear advances on the escaping gazelle.
Peccaries with javelin-shaped tusk-stubs are nailing the display cases. The cases that contain bracelets and necklaces.
Alone on a black futon, you see a Geoffroy’s marmoset, a hybrid creature with the face of a monkey and the body of a cat.
The animal life within: There are bouncing, flapping, and slithering animals everywhere. Animals that snatch and animals that scratch and animals that catch.
Bats are pendulating from the ceiling.
Thrushes are thrashing in the green dresses like giant moths.
Monkeys are slaking their thirst at a milk hole that has swelled in the middle of the department store’s main concourse. You pass the drinking monkeys, the sucking and licking simians.
Hiding in the changing rooms, there they are. The human survivalists are hiding in the changing rooms.
They are the most ridiculous, the most comical, the most stupid guerillas imaginable. Makeshift guerillas combatting gorillas.
With their camouflage and painted faces, they are grotesque lampoons of what guerilla rebels should be.
You recognize instantly that twenty-first century Americans make terrible guerillas, inept survivalists.
Americans are not prepared for the Apocalypse, if this is the Apocalypse.
It does not seem like the Apocalypse.
It does not seem like Armageddon.
It does not seem like the End of the World.
It seems like the Beginning of a New World.
In the Home Appliances department:
A proboscis monkey, a primate with a bluish-orange fur and a bulbous nose, is smashing the dinner plates and the tea cups to shards of porcelain and tearing the napkins and menus to shreds. Solemn-faced gorillas are hammering the tables with their fists. The tables buckle from the force, splintering and collapsing. Monkeys with pendulous tails are ripping up and biting the tablecloths.
Mice rush noiselessly into the kitchen cabinets on little pink feet. The refrigerators are covered with mossy green leaves.
An old woman is reclining on one of the mattresses. Her head shapes the pillow.
The wolverines, with bone-breaking glee, are shredding the mattresses. Shredding the mattresses, the curmudgeonly wolverines.
You can smell the thick, musty odor of the anal glands of the wolverines.
Todd Rundgren is crooning “Hello, It’s Me” a bit too loudly through the speakers as the wolverines and the badgers do their angry devouring. Their rabid chewing.
Grooming primates gather on the queen-sized mattresses, extracting human scum from their fluffy fur, while Japanese macaques float above them.
The grizzly bear swipes its protuberant, non-retractile claws, slicing apart the mattresses.
Languorously lounging on the chaise longue is a languid leopard.
Four white shower stalls have been installed at the center of the Home Appliances Department.
Wrapping its grappling claws around a shower-curtain rail, a three-toed sloth is swinging. Within the bathtub bustles a nine-banded armadillo. It scuttles around like a giant potato bug, with its grooved plates, long snout, and rat-like tail, thrashing its tongue.
Slashing through the shower curtains, zipping through the plastic curtains with scalpel-sharp webbed claws, the beavers are beavering in the tepid milky water, splashing about wildly.
In the Entertainment Department:
The fluffy-tailed skunks tunnel through the mass of Coldplay CDs. They find their burrow there.
The rusty-coated weasels squat on the check-out counter, chewing and shredding the Mark Z. Danielewski novels.
The gold-colored polecats defecate on the Dave Eggers novels.
The wolves devour the Wally Lamb novels.
They shred apart the Jonathan Safran Foer novels, the Jonathan Lethem novels, and the Jonathan Franzen novels.
The beavers rip through the hipster-trash novels, shredding, shearing, and slicing them with their heavy claws.
The beavers flatten the tables, shattering them with their heavy tails.
Perched on the television sets are colorfully feathered lorikeets and blackly feathered toucans.
Peach trees are growing right there—right in the middle of the Entertainment Department—magically growing magical peach trees.
Throwing television sets against the wall, smashing computers with their fists, bursting open DVD players, kissing the air obscenely, hooting squeaks and squeaking hoots, the orangutans are going wild.
Trundling through the display room, a bloat of hippopotami is squashing the plasma-screened television sets and computers beneath their pillar-sized feet—hissing television wreckage and computer circuitry gored open, electric sizzle. The hippopotami are smothering the iPads and iPods with their massive bulk. The iPads and the iPods buckle and crackle. An ibex lofts on the thick tough obsidian skin of a sleeping hippopotamus, sleeping beside a fizzing and fizzling television set.
Yawning, a hippopotamus shows its lower canine impalers, the mouth growing larger than the head.
Owls are screaming, shrieking, and screeching their cries of triumph, alighting on the television sets and computers, plucking at the iPads and digital-video cameras, and whispering to one another in sibilant murmurs. They ruffle their feathers and shuffle.
Music booms from the woofers as the dogs bark.
Like the clamor of a pet store, with all of its pet ferrets and fat parrots, the noise of the devouring animals rings in your ears.
Carmine-hided pandas scale the displays and tear the novelty T-shirts and novelty hats.
The ospreys, with their taloned feet, seize the baseball caps. With their sharp hooked bills, they fly at the bright lime-, lemon-, and cherry-colored designer shirts, tearing them open. The hawks are flaying the autumn coats.
There you see an entire tribe of lost humans sitting cross-legged or reclining before a row of television screens, staring into the screens. Some approach the screens and touch the screens as if longing to fuse, to merge, with some lost reality. Nordstrom nomads, deracinated, gazing into light-emitting screens. You cannot bring yourself to judge these lost people, for television transmits the illusion that stability exists somewhere in the world, and who would blame this uprooted tribe for desiring stability? The screens flicker, spewing forth light, covering the cultists in candy-colored coruscation.
The crows smash the television screens, shattering them with their wedge-bills.
The green-headed mallards are marching in circles around a mannequin family.
In the Department of Women’s Apparel:
Squatting on their haunches, the squirrel chew at and up the turquoise tank tops, holding the fabric to their chisel-shaped incisors in an almost human fashion. They tear at and up the turquoise tank tops with their teeth.
You observe the transports of the birds fluttering into the blouses and skirts.
Zebra are trotting through the Department of Women’s Apparel. Now they are bucking and stamping and spanking the ground with their clattering hooves. Beautiful zebra, avant-garde donkeys, asses with zagging white stripes, disappear into the dresses and blouses, clapping with their feet. You throw your arms around a zebra’s massive, heavy neck and kiss its dewlap.
A scratching is coming from the women’s changing room.
Out of the curtains pops the conical head of an anteater, a funny-looking tube with boggled eyes on the sides. The anteater’s cylindrical muzzle twitches. The anteater scurries, wiggling its wooly, funicular body out of the changing room, nearly colliding with your legs, its feathery tail high in the air.
The genets and the civets wrestle over the lavender blouse. The genets resemble cats; the civets resemble dog-cats.
Bejeweled birds are roosting on the female mannequins.
A bear wanders into the Department of Women’s Apparel. Lashing out with claw-daggers, the bear tears down and tears up the lime and grey blouses.
A stretching lioness is pulling down the white dresses with her mighty mouth and gnawing on the white silky fabric. The lioness is alone in all of her loneliness.
Littering the floor is a web of white and grey undergarments. See the toads leaping on the web of white and grey undergarments. The Eurasian toads secrete their toxic white fluids on to the undergarments, the marine toads lash their tongues at the undergarments, and the bullfrogs engulf the undergarments, swallowing them, putting them into their bullfrog mouths. The poison-arrow frogs stare at you.
Before you now is a towering American bison, gargantuan in its massiveness, a bull bison, snorting. In the storefront, a humped bison, with its massively bulky, wooly head, with its shaggy, wooly coat. Its lower body—its hindquarters and backside—is disproportionately small in relation to its front body—its head and hump. Its upturned, saber-shaped horns—give the overwhelming impression of gruffness, of force, of brute physicalness. Its head is comically huge, whereas its hooves seem almost tiny in comparison. He batter-rams his head against the changing rooms, shattering the mirrors and Plasticine mannequins, flinging hats and dresses in all directions, bearing them into the air with his horns.
The beast tugs at the sweaters, dragging them down, and then nibbles the knitted wool.
The rack of sweaters is toppling. The eagle is bringing them in a crashing heap to the linoleum. The eagle yanks at the sweaters with its sharp beak.
Champagne-colored antelope loll before the perfume counter.
A wave of whooshing milk on the second floor envelops the fragrance library.
You hear the rushing of the hissing milkfall as it cascades over the fragrance library, then cascades downward, wettening the magazines.
Eagle flocks cut airy paths over the perfumes and the facial creams.
Night-feeding lizards—geckos—and docile, happy llamas are grazing, sipping the cologne and the perfume.
In the overwhite glare, monkeys are eating the lipsticks.
The bushpigs are rooting and rootling in the makeup, their whiskers twitching, their splayed trotters knocking open the pots of candy-colored lip gloss.
A Maybelline-smeared woman is purloining lipstick from the display case.
She walks to the deep red-velvet chair in the corner.
She sits asprawl in the deep red-velvet chair, the bored woman.
Reclining on a neighboring futon is the bored woman’s bored boyfriend.
The bored boyfriend asks the bored girlfriend:
—Do you want to get something to eat?
She answers, following with her eyes the oscillations of a cat:
The bored girlfriend tousles her hair.
The swifts, in thick ashen clouds, descend on to the cash register and snare dollar bills in their beaks. Money-snagging swifts.
Hailing down from the displays, the earrings and the necklaces—so many meretricious things, so many baubles. Everything is useless in a world in which use-value is no longer a category of value. Money becomes mere paper. Ornaments revert to metal or stone.
You walk past the jewelry cases, where the bejeweled crocodiles are enshrined in the displays. Glinting crocodilians. Their scutes (ridges on their backs) are wet with milk and glisten like some kind of reptilian jewelry. Gila monsters, scaly intruders, have tunneled into the jewelry cases. They writhe.
Sitting upright and each looking rather self-immersed, a sloth of five pandas is chewing tough bamboo stalks. You notice that the pandas seemingly have six fingers on each forepaw, six digits that they use dexterously to peel and hold the bamboo stalks. They move their fox-like heads up and down, and it is very hard to see their eyes. So dark is it becoming, it is as if you are looking at five disembodied fox heads chewing bamboo stalks, the five heads phantasmally white, bobbing up and down.
You see the wild pigs. The wild pigs have broken free and are running free. The bristled monsters are tusking the drapes and curtains. Digging their snouts deeply into popcorn, the hogs are snortingly engulfing.
With long trunk-shaped muzzles, the crazed pigs unleash their fury on the human-created shopping center.
Swiftly coursing down the down escalator, the herd of pigs is coming for the dissipating crowd of humans.
The swine squeeze into the atrium and chase the flappy shoppers flapping their shopping bags.
The spiny-bristled, ugly, nasty, lewd boars are rudely prodding the legs of the shopping-mall humans with their insistent protuberant snouts, with their probing proboscises.
A wild boar turns its porcine head and looks at you. The disc-shaped cartilage at the end of its snout is smeared with maroon lipstick.
Its white tufty beard is spotted with red lipstick.
Go into the Godiva Chocolatier.
The tufty-headed warthogs are raiding the chocolatier, sticking their disc-shaped tubular noses into the wobbly viscous yellowish-white gelatin of the cheesecake and the spongy black-and-brown lard of the mousse. Snorting, snuffling, grumbling, grunting, groaning, the warthogs scuffle with one another over the cheesecake and the chocolate mousse. The babirusa seems to be laughing as it watches the warthogs scuffling and snuffling. The babirusa is chortling silently.
Crows are swooping down to feast on the scattered popcorn and peanuts.
Chocolate truffles, chocolate cigars, and chocolate pretzels are being devoured by the pigs.
White-lipped peccaries, mall pigs with bushy grey coats and pinkish noses, are slamming the showcase window, ramming the window with their snouts, raising their hooves to the window, breaking open the glass, the glass shattering.
The Macy’s Shopping Center is now a black forest of nightmare boars, tusking their way through curtains of air.
The fountain is the pulsating heart of the shopping center.
A smack of squishy jellyfish balloons in the fountain. A mad gorilla smacks the surface of the water with his paws.
Streaking across your visual field is a herd of water buffalo with grooved horns. The water buffalo are making their way to the fountain.
The beautiful Burrowing Owl sits on its perch, spying the lemmings, gophers, and voles that race brownly underneath the television sets. The beautiful Burrowing Owl wheezes and twitters.
Softly padding across the tables, the squirrel inspect the bright green and fuchsia polo shirts.
Swinging orangutans swish from pillar to pillar, catapulting themselves through the air. Some climb up the white walls, transporting coconuts into ventilation ducts. Others, squatting on the floor and swaying, burst open the woolly coconuts and mangos with their fists, juggling the coconuts.
Gliding above you, expanding their membranes into kites, a school of colugos are gliding on the air-conditioned breeze.
A Feathertail Glider glides through the air from the hat display to the check-out counter, expanding the parachute of its patagium.
(A patagium is a membranous fold of skin that extends from the gliding opossum’s forepaws to its hindpaws.)
Everywhere, the animals are eating and destroying.
The animals are eating the Frango mints.
The animals are eating the Heart-Shaped Cheesecake.
The animals are eating the Tommy Hilfiger Lobster Beach Towels.
The animals are eating the Ralph Lauren Flamingo Beach Towels.
The animals are eating the Lacoste Crocostripe Beach Towels.
The animals are eating the Martha Stewart Collection beddings.
The animals are destroying the glassware and china.
The animals are destroying the Merlot wine glasses.
The animals are destroying the serveware and vegetable bowls.
The animals are eating the Fruigurt.
The animals are destroying the indoor bicycles and treadmills.
The animals are destroying the luggage.
Torpid tapirs are chewing the jeans, the polo shirts, and the Zippered Sweetheart Dresses.
A pack of cheetahs undulates into the men’s lavatory.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The low-hanging vines are dangling in front of you.
In a trance of hazy love, you walk straight through the vine curtain.
Walk down the corridor.
The corridor leads to a door and is lined by glass-cased daguerreotype photographs that you do not take the trouble to observe carefully.
Walk toward the door.
You move haltingly down the corridor, stepping over the writhing snakes and tortoises.
You limp to the threshold, limping through the knot of leaping toads.
Birds coming at you with razor talons, you grasp the door knob, swing open the door, and dart into the unknown room.
You are in the dark room, the camera obscura.
Slamming the door behind you, you cover thirty-six steps in the darkness.
A cavernous room with white walls and a domed ceiling, the studio welcomes you. A bay window is opposite you.
A pair of dimly inflamed candlesticks is dripping on a support that resembles an ancient Greek plinth. The candlesticks are pitiful and are quickly dripping into the mere memory of candlesticks.
There is a standing mirror at the center of the room.
You look at the reflection in the mirror.
The image in the mirror is not your image. It is of an entity that mimes your gesticulations and expressions. It is not the reflected vision of your own being. It is a ghastly clone that is looking at your eyes.
Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia