Table Four: Joseph Suglia

Table Four

You see butterflies everywhere. Everywhere, there are butterflies.

You are floating through a wall of butterflies. You are floating through a wall of beautiful blue butterflies. A wall of beautiful butterflies with transparent blue wings—a permeable wall of wings.

Now through another wall. You are floating through a wall of vibrant orange monarchs. You permeate the orange wall, the wall of orange-winged butterflies.

The street below you is crackling with insect and larval life. The street is beady with beetles and pebbly with bugs. The street is wormy with worms. Worms are coming up through the street-tar, smiling their mouthless smiles. You sidestep the vermicular heap.

Vermin are playing where once human beings extinguished, expunged, exterminated vermin—spaces that were once vermin-free zones are now verminized.

You move your hands in front of you. You part the butterfly wall as you float through the butterfly wall.

The street is vivid with monarch butterflies.

Look at all of the butterflies, flitting around before, behind, and above you! Kaleidoscopic butterflies, yellow-and-black hornet-colored butterflies, transparent-creamy butterflies, flickering like holograms in some ethereal disco, parking on your nose and in your hair.

The butterflies hover, they vibrate, they quiver their protoplasmic wings, they seem almost unreal. Butterflies are fluttering around your head, a nimbus of butterflies. Circling monarchs dancing around your head. Their tiny feet touch your neck; you feel their wings in your hair. The butterflies whirl around you beautifully in a butterfly halo.

There is a covered bus stop to your right. An old man is there, waiting for a bus that will never come. The septuagenarian is wearing an orange sweater. White wisps of hair cobweb his skull.

See the fritillaries flitting about—orange-black butterfly wings are enveloping the old man. The old man wears the butterflies as if they were a flappy winter coat. Covered in orange-black butterflies, the old man smiles his toothless smile.

A cumulus cloud of monarchs is fluttering around the construction site. A cloud of monarchs is diffusing across the CPS Parking Lot. The butterflies are carrying sunny sun-frost on their wings. Profuse butterflies.

You walk further. Boys on skateboards are skimming along the borderline between pavement and asphalt. You hear the clattering of the skateboards as they hit the curb.

To your left: A post office. Two statues of lions are crouching there, concrete and grey.

A crowd is beetling around the post office. The human beings in the crowd are shouting. They are as silly as protesters protesting the weather.

A young boy sits alone on the curb, pronging a forkful of cold lasagna with a plastic white fork. The lasagna is contained in a white Styrofoam container. Watch the forking of the lasagna.

A man stands apart from the crowd. The crowd steps away from the man. The man is roaring and seething, waving his arms about madly. The man is mad. He wants something, but what does he want? You cannot understand what he is shouting about. He is wearing a football jersey and has black stripes on his face. His hair has been dyed black. His dyed-black hair is shaped like a crown. Like a mitre. He resembles a football player who just lost his first game or a child who did not receive the bicycle he wanted for his birthday.

There: Against the street! There splatters a splitting watermelon! Someone hurled the watermelon from the roof of the post office. A watermelon is splattering against the street, hurled from the rooftop as if it were some kind of fruit suicide.

Gliding to the Home Depot, a swarm of butterflies—‘gliding’ because they drift without ascending—glides past you.

Above you towers a billboard covered in butterflies—shivering wings, black-and-yellow butterfly wings. An entire wall of wings fanning and fluttering, flipping open and flapping closed. The billboard is an electric beard of butterflies.

Mantises and centipedes and locusts are scaling the walls and the windows of the building to your right—an internet café. Liquid snails are sliding up the window, slipping in reverse.

Clouds of flies drift across your span of vision. The angry buzzing insects are whirring in a corona around your head. You wave them away. The antennae of the insects twirl as if they were traffic-control towers.

An old woman with gossamer skin and mad eyes flounces toward you, a flyswatter in one membranous hand. She hits you with her flyswatter. You shift away from her. Did she intend to strike you? Or did she intend to strike the flies? She studies you with eyes of malicious suspicion and then withdraws from your line of sight.

Translucent blue butterflies flutter around you uncertainly. They whirl and ascend and descend. They are pitching, the butterflies. A blue butterfly descends on to your right shoulder.

You see the football man. The football man is struggling with himself in the middle of the street. He pulls at his shirt and runs his hands through his hair. Writhing as if a phalanx of beetles were swarming over his skin, the man is clearly losing his mind.

The eyes of the crowd are staring at the man.

You move, as if floating, toward the intersection between Clark Street and Chicago Avenue.

Before you stands a young woman with strawberry-blonde hair. She has lived twenty-two summers. While giant African snails squirm over the tree trunk behind her, she smiles a toothy smile, the smile of a toothsome girl. She smiles not at you, but at the growing jungle of insects that is ensnaring you and her and everyone else in the city of Chicago. She has large liquid hazel eyes. She smiles slowly and says in a quiet voice that she always dreamed of such a day, that she always wished for this to happen.


Copyright 2018 by Joseph Suglia


20 thoughts on “Table Four: Joseph Suglia”

  1. Beautiful, yet disturbing imagery. I did not expect that last sentence. I have had similar experiences, though they were induced by hallucinogenic drugs.

    The one time I was full blown manic, my racing thoughts intrigued me. Simultaneous streams of thought flowed through me. Zeroes and ones streamed through my mind, as did thoughts of Christian mystic saints and thoughts of chaos theory. I wished I could have recorded the speeding streams of thoughts, later deciphered their meaning and discerned whether they made sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Table 1 had me thinking “who [wrote this]?” I finished Table 1 intrigued and frightened of what I may find if I kept reading. I could not stop myself from moving forward into Dr. Suglias mad novel. I am enthralled now. I am in Table 4. I cannot stop reading. I have a friend who is writing a series of novels. She has me review the first few chapters for each book. She told me her editor said she needs to be more descriptive. As I read this haunting, beautiful novel Table 41, I think to my self “this writer was told to be more descriptive so he is filling this novel to the brim. He is filling this novel with lush and fantastic description that will blow the minds of his editor and readers”. This novel is poetry. It is somehow LIQUID colors of words washing over my being. I love it!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Get out of my head, will you?

    My heart ached for the world we abuse as I read your expertly crafted words. I struggled to keep reading as my aching, longing, and suppressed hope grew. So beautiful… so right. Then I got to the end… Get out of my head.

    Now, I am left unsettled.

    To read and journey more or not too? This is getting intense.

    Liked by 1 person

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