The entire novel Table 41 is available on this Web page.
Here is a Table of Contents for Table 41.
The entire novel Table 41 is available on this Web page.
Here is a Table of Contents for Table 41.
Gott versprach sich, als er den Menschen schuf.
God misspoke when he created the human being.
Je edler ein Ding in seiner Vollkommenheit, desto grässlicher in seiner Verwesung.
The nobler a thing in its perfection, the more hideous it will be in its decomposition.
—Moses Mendelssohn, quoting a ‘Hebraic writer’
Dedicated to Joseph Suglia
Thanks to Friedrich Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, and J.G. Ballard.
Reference is made to “Mussel Hunter at Rock Harbor” by Sylvia Plath, “Der Panther” by Rainer Maria Rilke, Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats, “Decorative Art in America” by Oscar Wilde, and the Natural History of Pliny the Elder.
Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia
The sky is not the color of sapphire. The sky is not the color of lapis lazuli. The sky is not azure. The sky is not cerulean. The sky is not an oceanic blue. The sky is not the color of anyone’s eyes. The sky is the color of a Blueberry Popsicle, and that is that. It is a cloudless sky, and its color is exactly the color of a Blueberry Popsicle.
Double-glazed windows blink in the sunlight behind balustraded balconies. The sun smears the white planes of the apartment buildings, the jutting balconies forming ridges. Pyramid-shaped office buildings rise around you, engulfing you and the crowd. Conical protrusions are looming, imposing cone-shaped buildings. Concrete boxes with glass-cubed fronts. They are steel structures with concrete bases, monoliths of steel surrounded by arterial beltways.
People mill about. They are walking in the middle of Clark Street. These people—they are like mountaineers searching for a mountain. Instead of mountain ranges, you have Walgreens, Starbucks, and Nordstrom’s.
They look into the shop and restaurant windows. They emit phatic expressions disguised as questions (“How are you?”; “How’s it going?”). A fatherly man in wire glasses is standing by the Dunkin’ Donuts. He looks through the window.
Vicious and viscous insect-devouring plants are covering the Urban Outfitters, the inside and the outside of the bauble store.
The sweep of plants that you sweep aside, as you enter the Urban Outfitters, is a virulent green.
Plowing your way into the Urban Outfitters, you are greeted by a vibrant burst of animal life. Simian life. Monkey life.
A proboscis monkey throws itself through the air, hurling its body on to the rack of pre-faded designer jeans.
Chattering gibbons and springy lemurs scale the walls.
Crazed monkeys are radiating in all directions, langurs with white-sideburned and white-crested heads, thick black rats’ tails snaking back and forth, scrambling and scampering, screeching and shrilling. Crawling over everything and shattering everything. They destroy the novelty coffee mugs, the turntables, the faux-vintage LPs, the incense candles, the portable game consoles, the disposable ‘selfie’ cameras, the disposable radios, the Gummy Bear kegs, the bobble heads, all of the baubles and trinkets and junk.
Look up. There are bats. Bats crawl across the high ceiling, strange slit-faced bats with rabbit ears, bats with heads like hyenas, crawling bats, long-snouted chiroptera.
(Chiroptera are volatile mammals—the only flying mammals—with hands like wings.)
The bats umbrella their black wings, their ballooning wings, waiting to descend. A cluster of roosting bats: The ceiling is alive with sucker-footed bats, bats suckering the ceiling above you.
Ring-tailed lemurs pad the ground with their pads, swishing their bushy black-on-white ringed tails, projecting their canine noses upward. Lemurs with their massive liquid brown irises, seeing everything, are mounting the walls, climbing on to the ceiling fans, and playing playfully, grooming one another. Stretching their arachnoid bodies spider-like across the ceiling, leaping through the air, the lemurs dominate the space. They wrap their bodies around the glittering disco ball, performing their arabesque calisthenics. They ring their tails around the wooden ceiling beams. A cluster of angry lemurs, their black-and-white masks unsmilingly surveying you.
Shuddering monkeys are in the rafters, giggling and chattering, swinging black-and-white colobus monkeys swinging and swaying above you. The monkeys seem to be impersonating the stupidities of human beings, their inferiors.
See the marmoset on the check-out counter frenziedly chewing on the smartphone that it holds in both hands.
A howler monkey hurtles itself through the air, from rack to vibrating rack.
Nothing sounds more terrifying than a howler monkey. The howler monkeys shrill their shrill, skin-shriveling shrieks. They loose their bone-grinding howls, which resound from two miles away.
The capybaras give their barks. The howler monkeys howl.
The Urban Outfitters is a reeking, unruly zoo. The artsters and the hipsters, the emos and the scenesters can no longer practice their unpracticed irony there. Where nothing is normal, there can be no irony.
Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia
You are walking across the Clark Street Bridge, that connecting tissue that links the North Side to the Loop. You hear the echo of your own footfalls on the rust-purple metal as you tread across the great bridge, from tower to tower. Looking at the skyline, you see familiar structures. Buildings shooting up into the sky like giant hypodermic needles, the great black, auburn, white, grey, and silver verticalities: the John Hancock Tower, the Westin Hotel, Marina City, the Trump International Tower & Hotel, the Reid, Murdoch & Company Building, the 300 North LaSalle Building, Merchandise Mart, the Sears Tower. And yet these once-familiar structures are now transmuted into strange things.
The John Hancock Tower is covered in mobile orange flowers, blooms that resemble zinnias.
Like a giant Texas Instruments calculator belted with Venus Fly Traps and snapping carnivores, the Westin Hotel stands gloriously. It once stood miserably, the ugliest building in Chicago.
Behind the Westin Hotel, there stands Marina City. Twin ridged cupped buildings, decoupled, looming like chalk-cliff corncobs. Marina City is bursting with green from within, as if the interior structure were an overstuffed and insistently growing botanical garden. A corncob shadow creeps up the nether tower.
Trump International Tower & Hotel pierces the sky like a steel dildo, its structure wrapped in succulent green tentacles.
Vines engarland the promenade of the Reid, Murdoch & Company Building.
Sunlight reflects against the sheening metallic plane surface of the 300 North LaSalle Building. A mirrored monolith, it absorbs the blue sky and clouds around it. Throbbing black leaves striate its specular surfaces.
Merchandise Mart is enveloped in greenery, a dense jungle thicket.
The Sears Tower is engulfed in feathery white flowers and green vines. It stands there, seeming a jungle pillar.
Pythons wrap themselves around the pylons.
Skimming over the bridge are cantering antelope, horses, and wildebeest.
And then you notice that the Chicago River is gleaming whitely in the midday sun. The water of the Chicago River has lost its limpidity as it is infused with jets of milk. The milk soon fills the river.
The Chicago River is white with milk.
Walking across the Clark Street Bridge, you turn your head and gaze at the flowing milk river. You see the mellifluous ambrosia flowing.
Looking down, you survey the milkscape. You see human families and once-aquatic beasts frolicking, swimming in the milk.
You see caribou and zebra dipping their heads into the milk.
The milk has risen to the level of the walkways and the embankments and overflowed the walkways and the embankments.
There is a large-buttocked man with his two children. He is wearing rippling blue swimming trunks. He stares at the wagging grey tail of a giant elephant, a milk-beast of the milky Chicago River.
Glimmering with milk and godlike, the elephant crawls out of the milk river. Out of the river the beast shimmies. It lowers its tongue-like trunk and spurts milk from its tongue, cascading milk that douses the squealing humans on the river bank.
Effusions of hopeless giddiness seize the humans as they delight in the milk.
You climb from the bridge, down a rusty purple ladder. You land on a grassy slope. You descend the grassy slope to the milkway.
The bank of the river is suffused with a milky mist. Ever-thickening, the mist drifts into the thicket of scraggly trees.
Like hamadryads, young girls are hiding behind mossy trees trunks.
(A hamadryad is a tree-dwelling nymph.)
The first thing that you notice are the black wormy shapes that striate the unbroken creamy surface of the milk. These shapes belong to black snakes. Swimming with the black snakes are black Snakebirds. The black Snakebirds are swimming, their heads raised loftily above the milk, their darting heads. They swim with the black snakes in swift jaunts.
Lying prostrate on the embankment, there is an old man in a fisher’s outfit. He is shoveling handfuls of milk into his lipless mouth. Does the milk possess regenerative properties? Is this the River of Youth?
You look at the milk. The wind passes over the milk, rippling its film, massaging its film, creasing and caressing its film, wings of ripples. You walk down a trail that borders the river.
The shadows of rare birds are passing over you and above the flowing current of milk. You see the shadows of the birds dancing on the milk-flow.
There ahead of you, one hundred feet from you, in the milk, is a blonde-haired woman rowing in her coracle, a small boat shaped like a halved walnut shell. As she passes you, drifting by, her eyes seem peaceful. Her hair rustles almost imperceptibly.
You resolve to join the blonde-haired woman. There is a raft shifting by the shore, shifting in the unsteady milk.
You walk down to the bank of the Chicago River.
Wiping your forehead, you gaze downstream. There is the raft. Climb over the railing. Climb on to the raft.
You climb over the railing. You climb on to the raft. You seize a long branch—an oar that will propel the raft. You drift forward on your raft, rowing with the long branch, sticking it javelin-like into the river without reaching its bottom. Around you circle creatures of the milk, sharks and eels. The sharks bob their heads up to greet you. The eels sinuate through the silky milkiness.
You drift down the river on the raft.
Look at the splashing manatee, splashing in the milk! You wish that you could swim with that manatee or swim on the back of that manatee, the milk streaming down its bulbous, blubbery back, the milk streaming down your back, its enormous, bristly lips snuffling, its eyes nearly invisible, its flippers prehensile and humanoid, the West Indian manatee, bearing you downstream. Undermilk, the manatee holds a bird’s nest in its flipper-fingers, which are indeed indented like the fingers of a human being, and nibbles at that bird’s nest. See the manatee devour the bird’s nest.
Look at the large-buttocked man! On the embankment. He pulls out a container from his suitcase, opens that container, and places his hand inside of that container. He smears a thick, dark substance over his energetic flesh. What seems to be a pungent brown sauce ripples over his blubbery skin. He spreads the gooey matter over his rich stomach. He covers his flabby body with the viscous unguent before climbing on to the railing and plunging into the seething, brisk, effervescent, cool milk river.
Jammed with slamming bodies, the river is clustered with life.
Within the milk is a collection of swimming and floating creatures. All around you, milk-creatures. Denizens of the milk, they swim and float with and around you. You turn on your back. You look at the sky. You see the crows dance in the sky. You see the clouds and the crows, the whiteness of the clouds and the blackness of the crows’ feathers.
Like sea monsters, the sharks, the octopuses, the dolphins, and the porpoises inhabit the gooey milk.
The milk has no smell. It must not be milk. Real milk is fragrant because it decomposes. All that decomposes is odiferous.
This is milk that does not decompose.
The weeds and the reeds to your left are whitishly stained and saturated. You see creatures on the shore. You see animals all around you. You see surfacing fish, sailing birds, and trotting beasts on the land.
Sinuating through the syrupy milk, there is a whale shark. You study the whale shark. The whale shark gapes its mouth impossibly, sedately swishing its mottled tail, slowly floating in the deep, as exquisite yellow-and-black orioles circle above the bubbling froth left in its wake.
The suctional mouth of the shark forms a black halo. Its mouth widens abyssally. Its diamond head disappears silently into the milk.
As you drift along the shore, the silvery-white heads of porpoises surface, the ephydriads of the milk.
(Ephydriad = “water-nymph.”)
A monkey with the body of a human swimmer leaps its way through the milky river. On the shore, an orange bulky orangutan protrudes its unstupid lips and sucks up milk from the flood.
Now, the orangutan climbs the railing and lowers its body into the river.
You gaze at the children wading happily on the shore, wading happily in the milk, petting the platypuses, and howling in delight at the tapering bottle-nosed heads of the porpoises as they lift to the surface.
Through the green foliage, you look at the animals engirding the milk river. A lion stalks the underbrush. A grizzly bear is maundering. Coyotes are hunting, foraging for fresh meat.
A ritualistic death match between two bears is forming in the milk river. Parents and their children swim to the bank and lift themselves out of the milk. Dripping with milk, they lower themselves behind dark green bushes as the two bears lock jaws.
As you drift along, you see black bears climbing the trees. Arboreal bears, bears that think they are birds. Scratchings and etchings on the trees, ursine writings.
To your left, in the clearing of the forest, a four-legged car crusher, a black bear is mounting the roof of a car, a red Hyundai, and jumping up and down. The roof collapses, the windows shatter, the doors burst. In the car, coolers and suitcases.
A fat brown sausage, the bear squeezes into the Hyundai. No humans in sight. You can smell the smell of chicken cooking and hear the distant wailing of a human male.
Along the shore, bears are lifting themselves and roaring. The quail in the grass are quailing. You are quailing as the bears are lifting themselves and roaring. Deep guttural roars fill your ears as you trudge on through the sludge, floating on the sludge. The milk is guttering through the grasses.
Nuzzling its muzzle against an elm tree, a brown bear caresses the bark. Other bears are diving into the milk, foraging for fish, clams, and crabs. Leaping into the milk, a bear is charging a llama that is grazing on the opposite bank of the river. A woman is screaming. You cannot see the woman who is screaming. A kingfisher plunges into the milk.
You observe a woman, a man, and a child wading in the milk on the surface of the embankment. They are all wearing sunglasses. They stand in the milk and look at you soundlessly. Perhaps someday humans will develop gills and they will circle in the milk, along with the fish, platypuses, whales, and eels.
Bathing knee-deep in the emollient, a cult of women is rubbing milk into its skin. Their epidermis absorbs the lactate and all of its rejuvenating properties. The milk has a softening effect on their skin, an emollient effect on all that it touches—the gluey white fluid, the milk unguent.
A retinue of children attends them. They, the women, rub the milk into their children’s skin, flowing milk flows.
Lowering themselves into the milk, the women moisten their calyxes.
(A calyx is the outermost part of a flower.)
Their clothes saturated with the milk, they submerge.
Two children—one girl and one boy—are floating on the milk river on what looks like a massive stiffly-ribbed milk hyacinth.
The girl is holding aloft a toy windmill and smiling ridiculously.
Another harem of women, there. The harem of women is steeped in the thick milk. They, the women, are surrounding a massive brown horse. They are washing the great horse with sponges. Milk drizzles down the sleek brown hide of the horse.
The horse snuffles through its nostrils and scrapes the pavement with its hooves.
A milky eel sinuates over the blanket of milk.
Families, more human families, are swimming in the milk river.
The Purple Heron unspools its long, serpentine neck. Lightning-quick, it thrashes its awl-shaped bill into the milk, snatching up a milk snake.
You drift forward on your raft, using the long tree branch as an oar.
A Flightless Cormorant is standing on the railing with its giant webbed feet, gaping its monstrous hooked bill, lighting its lunatic blue eyes, beating its stubby wings maniacally, pushing out its fat sooty belly, screeching its terrible screech.
An elephant calf is sucking elephant milk through its hose-trunk. It lifts its head, nuzzling between the mother elephant’s pillar-like front legs.
A manatee rears its head out of the milk and snuffles, its whiskers quivering, whiskery sirenian.
(Sirenian = sea-cow.)
The lips of the milk-mermaid tremble. It warbles a silent song, working its heavy lips, moving its heavy thick mouth. Turning from you, the sireniform manatee disappears into the milk.
(Sireniform = shaped like a mermaid.)
Squatting on the shore is a chignoned woman. You see the chignoned woman soaking her fingers into the creamy milky wetness.
Plastered with milk bubbles, a colony of shrews lifts itself from the lacteous profundities and disappears into the tall grass.
Bathing old men are bathing in the milk like bathing brown bears. Wading old women are wading in the milk like wading storks. The milk is moving sloshingly, slushingly over the waders and the bathers, lubricating their skin and their hair.
Slickened with milk, the slack-skinned old women emerge from the white river rejuvenated. Their hair is vibrant, their skin is glowing.
The children are going swimming in the thickening milkiness, dragging their mothers by the wrists.
By the milk shore, cattle are tippling, dappled in milky dew.
(To tipple = to drink in small amounts.)
You hear a noisy splash and see a sloth of big milk bears bringing up to shore slothful crabs and wriggling eels, swimming milk bears with buoyant fur and digging paws. They lay the crabs and eels on the shore, releasing them from their jaws. The more vigorous bears are already ashore, dining on the crabs and the eels, with their white teeth and pink tongues. Alone, there is one straggler in the bubbling milk. Poor lone milk bear. The slothful bear emerges from the slushy froth like a sad sloth.
You follow with your eyes the slow glide of the platypus, the gentle propulsions of the aquatic duck-beaver. The platypus flaps its webbed fin-claws, maneuvering through the waves with its flat tail. It lifts its spongy black bill and then submerges into the depths. A brown bear emerges from the pond, milk streaming down its dense fur.
With a galvanic jolt, a blue-and-orange kingfisher plunges into the milk, arrow-like, seizing a wriggling trout in its merciless black-red mandibles. It pulls back its wings, and then springs into the air, its vibrant wings galvanizing, powering its flight.
Stretching its heavy black-and-white accordion wings, a red-faced and red-throated hornbill seems to be running through the air, pawing the air with its claws as it runs in flight, pursuing a raft on which a husband and wife are cowering as the raft is being sucked into a whirlpool, not to rescue the passengers, but to prey upon them.
Black-feathered, the condor takes wing, soaring on the breeze. Its head is a skull draped in a sheet of wrinkled and folded pink skin. It circles in the air, looking down menacingly at a clutch of baby sea turtles lying on the rocks.
Thirty feet to your right. A culvert is releasing milk into the river. Gushes of milk. Milk is pouring noisily out of a drainage culvert and rippling into the river. The parts of the river that were once water are whitening into a whitish mistiness, a flocculent creaminess.
A steep fall of milk is rushing and splashing into the deeps of the unplacid milk, where otters are courting and mating.
Rushes of milk are rushing between milk-slippery rocks.
You catch a glimpse of a woman stretching out her legs on the grass. She is slipping her feet out of her dainty shoes and slipping them into the alabaster flood.
(Alabaster = a white mineral that is used to create statues.)
You waft past another dark green forest. In the forest, there is a fortress. Survivalists have constructed tall wooden and steel palisades to shield themselves from invading animals. Through the colonnade of trees, the humans wander, with rifles at the ready. The only jungles they have known are the cyber-jungles of cyber-realms.
Looking at the overlapping waves, you lie down on the raft. The milk seems to be forever retracting. Following with your eyes the sinuous path to the mouth of the river, you survey the manic splashing happy animals and humans in the milk. A crowd of humans becomes perceptible in the creamy whiteness.
Boys are slinging milkballs at one another, milk that has calcified into a mucky solidity. A boy in orange trousers is splashing milk at another boy who looks exactly like him. Semi-clothed men are wading in the milk, bearing children on their shoulders, hulking on the banks of the river.
Office buildings loom along the milkshore.
You hear the swish of the milk, the flow of the silken milk.
There is a great white, a beautifully white shark, folding its body above the milk. You see the knife-teethed giant sailing through the air and landing into the milk again with a sloppy splash—milk-kraken, vicious kraken of the milky deeps.
Swifts are flying low, dipping their lower beaks furtively into the milk. A cluster of swifts, their sharp wings scissored, is nesting on the side of a rock.
The emu bounces along the shore, leaps, and plunges into the milk.
A pair of strange aquatic birds—their heads aloft, their white chests pushed out—are paddling their feet manically, propelling themselves across the surface of the milk in a unified formation, barking and trilling: weeooooow, weeooooow, weeeoooooooow! They whoosh across the pond and swoosh down the river.
Mermaids and mermen are swimming in the milk—humans perhaps someday will grow gill-grills and flapping fins.
A woman in an orange dress is sitting on the bank of the river. She shifts her soft legs into the suppurating milk-spasm. She smiles at you a gamesome smile.
A urine-stained thong floats on the river’s surface.
Through the foliage, you see dancing children. Children are gamboling through the forest and lolling under the cherry trees.
The gulls skim low over the milk crests, swooping and snapping on fish and shellfish. You listen to the gulls bellowing and chattering, after snatching their prey.
Before you storms a milk-geyser. The geyser spurts upward, and then the milk cascades downward in a milkfall. The milk splatters.
A flock of flamingos soars overhead, honking and squawking. You never knew that flamingos were capable of flight.
You see a stork above you, battling the heights. Its orange bill noses the air uncertainly, its orange feet dangle awkwardly downward, its torso sinks weightily. Its wings flap, and the stork elevates ten feet. Its neck outstretched, its broad wings beat more heavily, and now the stork is gliding. Levitating gracefully into the sky, almost hovering. The wings of the stork keep it afloat, the torso of the stork tends toward the earth.
The milk never grows fetid in this boggy region. It simply stays unfresh without ever curdling. On the surface of the milk is a waxy film, a yellowish pellicle.
(Pellicle = a thin skin, film, or membrane.)
But the milk never curdles. It never waxes rancid. It never grows waxy.
This colloidal, mucous-like substance—what is it?
(Colloidal = like gelatin.)
Hippopotami, fat milk pigs, are basking on the pavement and bathing in the overflowing white milk, the hippopotami of the fountain. An oily-black hippopotamus cools its gluteus in the milk. The oily-black hippopotami cool their glutei maximi in the milk.
No, the hippopotami are not fat milk pigs. They are the horses of the river.
Hippopotami, horses of the river.
Standing on a milk-rock, on a single leg, a flamingo is shaking its algae-stained feathers. It casts a lollipop-shaped shadow on to the surface of the pearly lagoon.
There is a pangolin on the shore. A pangolin is creeping stealthily through the grasses toward the milk. The pangolin, a coil of scales, looks like an animal with pinecone skin, its scales superimposed one over the other, interleaving scales. It laps at the milk with a stringy tongue.
You see a walrus in the shoals. The walrus, fanged and gruff, lunges and lurches, using its fang-like tusks as if they were ski poles. Its face is whiskery, and its bulk is blubbery. Big and blubbery, the walrus plops into the gooey white ooze, sending bubbles of milk everywhere.
Afloat, a flotilla of pelicans shakes its wet plumes, the pelicans’ bill-pouches distended, their webbed feet sloshing through the streaming milk.
You watch the great cormorant, standing tall, unflying. Its wings are open, forming zigzags. The great bird with open wings—with great brown-black wings blown out—stands aloft, the sun shining around and through its wingtips. The cormorant turns its head to the left—majestic, dignified. It seems shy in the way that most birds seem shy, and yet its apparent shyness hides a curious self-absorbedness.
As the sky deepens to a somber lavender, you stretch yourself out on the raft. No daydreams come into your head. All about you is a vigorous and luscious dream.
A blizzard of buzzards is fluttering maniacally overhead.
Sturgeons with throbbing gills traverse the flood.
A school of otter shrews thrusts sinuously through the milk with all of the celerity and agility of a professional diving team, wavy brown stripes furrowing the white.
Place your bare arm into the milk.
Threading through the milk, a platypus claws the waves with its webbed claws and steers its self-propelled boat-body with a tail shaped like a cricket bat. You move your bare arm away from the streaming milk-flood.
The wind is picking up, gathering force. The waves, newly swelled, are rocking back and forth, and the humans are weltering in the welter. They are alone in the milk and surrounded by animals. Some of the humans call you, summon you. You drift down the river unheeding.
You look through a semitransparent milk patch. Below the surface of the milk river, there is an octopus, yellow but pocked with green mottles and ringed with blue rings. Supple and soft, its multi-suckered tentacle-fingers finger the cushion of the cushiony milk. Its betoothed tongue darts in and out of its titanium beak.
Fear the octopus.
You can imagine that there is an aquarium of creatures unseen in the milky depths—seahorses, jellyfish, men-of-war, and so forth.
Ruddering through the milk, a lone boat is drifting lonely. On the boat is a mother cradling her baby. She is milking the baby.
The mother looks with brightly dark eyes at a raddled bear on the shore.
Her former husband is struggling against the milk tide, wading toward her uselessly. The man is swashing and swishing through the milky wash, waving his arms around, trying to push back the insistent waves.
You see a woman on the shore. Her skin is pale. She is about twenty-eight. Her hair is purple. A silhouette of flourishing vegetation profiles her head and body. Above her, fifty feet in the air and wild, an insane-looking crested serpent eagle sweeps through the air, a crazed Quetzalcoatl, flapping its wings violently and flying awkwardly, mad cockatrice.
Look at the shore as you drift with the current. A band of mongooses is slipping and sinking into the milk. It almost seems as if the mongooses are being liquefied by the milk, becoming one with the milk that swallows them. Drifting on the surface of the pond is a milky milk lily, buoyed by the ebullient up-bubbling milk.
Clumsy-eyed teenagers battle the wavelets.
A green turtle drives itself down the milk-river, flapping its foreflippers.
Frogs are throbbing in the milk shallows. Thrusting its scythe-like bill into the mud, the sacred ibis unleashes its force, snatching up a frog, scooping it up with its long, heavy, curved, black bill, the frog’s legs uselessly dangling.
Sharks are soaring through the milky deeps, occasionally ascending to the surface. The sharks do not frighten you; the sharks do not frighten the fish or the birds or the tortoises.
The humans seem afraid of the other milk-creatures. But the non-human animals that immerse themselves in the ever-spreading ambrosia—they are unafraid of the milk-wading humans. There is a zoo of oxen, storks, flamingos, and bears splashing and diving and otherwise inhabiting the cool turbidity of the river. The ever-churning babblingly unsilent river. The animals and the humans form an ungentle congregation, neither devouring nor tearing at one another. They coexist uneasily, dwelling in the frothing flat milkshake.
No longer afraid, no longer frightened of the sylvan and milk-dwelling creatures, you drift with the herd. They will not attack you, and if they do, let them.
The pear trees, and the pears on the pear trees, on the left bank, are drizzling with milk.
Sunfish rise to the surface and slurp the air. They greet you with their lipless joyless smiles.
Beside the river is a sunning half-naked man. His forehead and face-cheeks are covered with the marzipan of an artificial suntan.
He is sitting hunched over, staring at his unreflection in the milk, which is opaque yet glistening with the dying sunrays of the dying day.
The waves roil and boil as you drift along the milk-shore.
You see humans balancing on a solitary rock in the middle of the gushing river. Like survivors of a shipwreck, they are balancing on a single rock in the middle of the gush.
A bespectacled dentist waves at you. He is bathing in the waves. Naked to the waist, he bathes in the spume.
The waves ascend into crests of foam. Then the waves subside again.
The cedars are growing taller and loom over you and along the milk river. They throw their mottled shadows on your face.
You gaze at the pear grove. A glossy-eyed woman is plucking the pears that grow from the pear branches. She is wearing a green apron and is smiling redly.
Shift your body to the edge of the raft.
You lower your legs into the milk. A thin film of milk is skimming over your legs. Your toes are caressed by the viscous ooze.
You look at the sky. Flecks of sunlight fleck your skin.
You feel ashamed in the presence of all of this verdant glorious blossoming exploding beauty, in the beautiful presence of so many up-growing trees and so many angelic birds casting themselves into the sparkling scintillating shimmering air.
There, an orangutan couple. He attends to his ape-spouse with all of the devotion of an uxorious husband.
(Uxorious = wife-loving.)
Both of them, ape-wife and uxorious ape-husband, are grooming each other in the luxurious foliage.
The grottoes are brimming with milk, the aqueducts are bearing milk to distant places.
Look at the constellation of rocks immersed in the milk. Sun-bathed alligators bathe in the last remnants of the sun.
The peach and orange trees give their shadows to the river. The crocodiles are sulking in the semi-darkness of the shadows. They skulk forward together, together in a dark phalanx, ready to grip their prey in their saurian jaws. Their prey, the kingfishers. They sight the kingfishers with their resplendent blue-green-orange plumage. They creep toward the kingfishers. The kingfishers fly away. The crocodiles sight the white cranes, white and feminine. They slither toward the white cranes hungrily.
By the shore: caimans and crocodiles. A caiman scuttles, elbowing its legs, before you, through the newly grown grass and flowers, and dives into the pool of milk.
Dinosaur-like crocodiles move forward, bejeweled with crazed eyes atop of their heads, gilt eyes.
The crocodiles watch the golden sparrows performing their aerial dance. They wait for the golden sparrows, patiently. They wait to snap the sparrows in their jaws.
A drift of fish is drifting through the opalescence, making its way through the eddies of milk. Fish you cannot see. Your legs are steeped in the milk, immersed in the milk. You can feel the fish brushing against your legs.
Through a horizontal vacancy in the leafage:
You see a toucan in a peach tree. Its plumage is blazing in the sun with an almost preternatural glow.
You see human beings. Human beings are trapped on a promontory. You can hear the wailing of the stranded humans, of the humans stranded on the promontory. Before them, the milk. Behind them, a grizzly bear sulking. You can hear their whimperings.
Splashing in the milk and snorting is a massive hippopotamus. The hippopotamus stares at you. The massively distending nostrils of the hippopotamus frighten you.
You see snowy herons standing tall in the river, as if standing on snowy ice.
The sleek heads of the otters follow you with their tiny eyes.
A man who looks like Lou Reed is flopping about in the shoals. He writhes in the milky mud. He writhes happily in the muddy milk.
Crocodiles recline on mattresses beside the river with their thin jaws pointed toward you.
To your right: milk gathers in a sucking milk pool. You see llamas, llamas drinking from the milk pool, lowering their furry, fuzzy necks and sucking and drinking.
Jets of milk rise into the sky. Fountaining milk, the milk is overflowing, coming out of the river in jolts and spurts.
There is a milk-sodden polar bear. The white slop is glistening on her fur. Her snout is glittering with white droplets.
The polar bear is followed by a fiftyish woman. Her skin is milky white. Her prominent, almost crocodilian lower teeth are visible.
By the shore: A crocodile is golden-eyeing the birds that walk on stilts. The springing, snatching saurian is eyeing a tall white heron. His serrated mouth seems to smile.
There, before you, a man’s head is surfacing like a manitou’s head, coming up through the milk.
A boat of humans silently speeds down the milk-way. Monkeys leap from the trees. They spring into the boat. Crocodiles sinuate through the tall grasses.
Low-slung and web-footed, the slippery otters are slipping into the milk river; they submerge into the mire and then resurface again, skimming the surface of the milk, paddling furiously with unseen feet. Now they are slouching on to the shore, shaking milk from their heads, and padding through the tall grasses.
Gorillas are bellowing in the forest. They tumble down the grassy slope and into the milk.
Around you, around the raft, a tumble of dolphins. The milk is slippery with dolphins. The dolphins sheer away awkwardly from what seems the mounting swell of a great Black-and-White, an orca rocketing through the milk, moving powerfully and muscularly like a missile, a rocketing leviathan.
See the bottlenose dolphins. Vigorously gymnastic, the bottlenose dolphins leap robustly into the air, twirl, and then capsize downwards into the splashing milk.
Fishing for trout, thrashing the milk, a polar bear. Now the polar bear is sinking into the shimmering white protoplasm. The bear seems to be melting as it sinks, melting into the white ooze. Only its tapering head is visible—then you see only its black nose—and then the polar bear disappears altogether into the mucilage.
You look into the sky. You recline supine on the raft as it drifts, rudderless. The sun is glazing like a phosphorescent pineapple. The sun is growing smaller. The sun is disappearing.
Coming from the shore, you see a cream-colored bear thrashing its way into the milk. The cream-colored bear pads forward, jerks its head back, opens its mouth fully, and exposes a horseshoe-shaped row of canines and molars.
You look into the forest that borders the river. Down the mangrove-bordered street, couples walk hand in hand.
And from your vantage, you see the milk-flooded streets. The milk is evicting the boarders. Milk is coming up in the city. Tidal streets, milk flowing up, bubbling up from the sewers. Human beings are lifting milk out of the streets in pails.
On the shore, there is a mound of Android telephones, iPhones, and iPads. Geese—Canadian and Greylag geese, to be precise—are perched on top of the mound of Androids, iPhones, and iPads.
A crocodile’s eyes appear from the milk. A crocodile’s eyes appear through the milk. The insensate brute floats there inanimate. Then the crocodile starts. The crocodile is moving. The crocodile is more animated now, floundering about. His mouth a horrible man-trap, the crocodile widens its jaws.
Porpoise heads raise themselves to the surface and gasp. Porpoises are floating through the white goo. They drift in the open milk. There, on the shore, hippopotami. Getting back into their lacteous environment, the hippopotami sink into the warmish ooze.
In the shallows, a brood of crocodiles. There, warm crocodile eggs.
You pass a flock of flamingos. A many-feathered cassowary lifts its slender legs high into the air and prances forward.
Some foolish human male is dancing in the underbrush. Ensheathed in crocodile hide and emblazoned with flamingo feathers, dressed like a pagan deity, the man pretends that he is one of the inhuman animals.
You turn your head back to the spreading milk. The heads of seals surface like so many bobbing scrotums.
On the far bank, you see animals prancing and herding. The wallabies and the kangaroos, released, are jaunting across the lawn.
There is another crocodile rising through the milk to greet you. On the chessboard of the crocodile’s square scales, a seagull is flickering its wings. The flailing tail of the saurian monster brushes aside the frogs and the toads from the oozing milk-mud.
Macaque monkeys swing and fling their bodies overhead, from tree to tree.
You see a retinue of nuns parading through the underbrush on the left bank. Like virgins to a sacrifice, the nunnish nuns parade toward the milk river.
One of the nuns is wearing a black T-shirt.
Her T-shirt reads: Being a Nun Don’t Mean No Fun!
Into a cavern they spelunkingly venture, the nuns. The cavern is garlanded with roses and vines.
There is a whitish stone on the raft. You heave the stone. You hurl the stone into the milk pool. It swiftly sinks without creasing the yellowing surface of the milky reservoir.
Lazing in the littoral mud, the alligators sleep. The alligators gaze at the nuns as they vanish into the cavern.
The alligators follow the nuns into the cavern.
Raising its fierce weight, standing on its hindlegs, an alligator silently roars.
Smashing down on the surface of the river, a milk-bird captures some squirmy milk-creature in its talons. Crashing blow, coming down.
Spinning its mass through the viscid muck, a shark is spinning.
A centaur-like man is bathing himself in the milk. He is an idiotic idiot.
A jimber-jawed sea lion swallows a penguin.
(Jimber-jaw = a lower jaw that is longer than the upper jaw.)
Your raft drifts down the river. You see a bus flipped over on its side as you pass.
There is the bus driver babbling to himself. He looks like some repulsive robot. His skin is like a beetle’s carapace. The man with beetle-like skin is jumping up and down idiotically. Straight-jacked by the passengers of the bus, the man is dragged into a neighboring trailer park.
There is a writer manqué. There is nothing for the writer to write, now that the existing city landscape has become imaginary.
He lowers his hands into the cool milk. His sandpapery hands are being washed in the milk flood.
One hundred feet before you: An alligator is surfacing. Holding a paddle in its jaws, the alligator raises its head and then descends again.
Around you: A school of alligators. The alligators cough. In the mud: Caimans are laying their eggs.
With the velocity of a missile, a shark spears the flow.
The armed jaws of a crocodile smile at you as you waft past. He fixes his watery eyes on you.
Thrashing in the milk, a bear is foraging for undermilk creatures.
Poised over the milk, a beautifully pink flamingo searches for fish-meat.
A stork ruffles its plumage and settles into the milk.
Paradisiacal, sylvan, a faunal dream, Milk River is now an oasis in what was once one of the more modernized cities in North America.
You might as well be floating down an arterial jungle tributary. It is difficult to believe that Milk River was the Chicago River not more than twenty-four hours before.
In the green forest, you see puffy white flowers. The puffy white flowers look like balls of vanilla ice cream.
A gush of dolphins—jaunting, slippery, shiny dolphins—jumps into your line of vision. Their emergence ripples the foam. The foaming flood ripples through the grass, across the surface of the river, and to your raft.
Forty feet to the right: Otters are folding themselves and fondling themselves, curling themselves into semicircles. The otters dive into the milk, propelling their sleek bodies across the milky slick. You admire the chocolate fur of the otters. Furiously barking giant otters, they are barking furiously.
Somewhere below, somewhere beneath the frothy surface, a school of manatees is spiraling through the milk.
An acrobatic porpoise lifts itself from the froth and then descends in an arc back into the whooshing milkshake.
You look to the left: An owl-faced priest is pounced upon by playful giant otters.
Hoatzins (beautifully blue-and-orange tropical pheasants) spread their wings, asthmatically wheezing as they whiz from tree to tree in the spontaneously growing jungle.
You hear the pumping gaspings and groanings of a howler monkey, grumblings that give way to a full-blown clarion bellow.
A boat of humans speeds into the offing. They call you. The hominid family disappears into the crests of foam.
Squealing and squeaking, the giant otters lower themselves into milk river.
On the bank: A man dressed in a mail carrier’s uniform is standing opposite a mighty bear. The bear is squatting there cantilevered, staring at the human who is staring back at the bear.
The mailman breaks into a run. He moves through the ragged forest like a ghost, keeping pace with the thrusting survivalists. He rushes to the fortress. A mist is thickening into swirls of airy ice cream all around him, as he rushes toward the crenellated tower, across the damp field.
You gape at the emergent heads of seals, slick sea dogs.
The sunlight dances on iridescently sparkling stretches of milk.
A water buffalo, followed by a train of otters, slips through the arch of a viaduct. A leg-dangling boy is squatting on the viaduct. An unharnessed musk ox is there, dripping with milk. The musk ox squeezes into the viaduct.
A beautiful scene unfolds before you. Cherries are being plucked from the lush branches of the cherry trees by cherry-plucking human families. It is refreshing to see human beings so cheerfully adjusting to the jungle environment.
You gaze at the milky river as it moves inexorably into the obscure distance.
You look at a bubbling rippling path in the middle of the river. There, where the ripples are bubbling, you see ascending and circling bluefish, arcing and descending. There, the milk is impenetrably white.
Fifteen feet to the right: There is a tribe of humans performing their mid-afternoon ablutions. They wash their brown and white flesh with the milk.
Hauling milk out of the pond with their cupped palms, the orangutans are stooped along the bank, swooping the soupy milk into their mouths with eager scoops, their hulking forms hunkered down.
There is a grizzly bear in the milk, charging a heron. The heron flies away briskly. Milk-logged, the grizzly bear is sighing seethingly.
Heavy and sopping with milk, the survivalist men stupidly flop about and wade about pointlessly. What are they doing? They surely are not going hunting or fishing. Assuredly, they could not be so stupid, you can be assured most assuredly.
The beautifully slippery black caimans are there in the milk, the unstupid caimans. In their crocodilian paths are herons and flamingos and storks.
Nothing is more frightening than the fearsome alligator—intimidatingly serene, terrifyingly placid, doing nothing but wallowing in the shallows. The thick, rounded jaws of the alligator unclose slightly, jagged teeth protruding from its half-closed mouth.
There you see horrible gharials—aggressive mutant crocodiles with bizarrely tube-shaped and protrusive snouts, their mouths lined with a chain of terrible bone-grinding bird-snatching bone-teeth. Their spiked tails are like thorny cat-o-nine-tails. Misevolved they were from their saurian ancestors.
The calloused snouts of the crocodiles you see now, eyes boggling atop of their warty heads, crocodiles sunning themselves.
Around the crocodiles, the milk pool has grown swampy. The milk there has grown a fetid cast—a green sheen, a green silky slick.
You see the moist, rotting bark of tree roots dipping into the milk pool. The bark and the roots are moist with milk. They are sucking up the milk. The milk makes the trees grow taller.
Through the forest are fairy-like girls running. They blend into the forest dream.
A pool beside the river. The pool has become a wallow for pigs and bears. Muck-happy boars are mucking about in the pool.
A man is bathing his wounds in the milk. He is wearing black shorts. A bright-red gash is visible above his left knee.
The sky is a melt of blues and greys, colors that seem to be melding together. From the blue-and-grey sky comes a bald eagle.
The bald eagle dives into the weltering flood, plunging amazingly from the air into the milk. It returns, remerges, clutching a glistening trout in its strong talons, leaving expanding ripples in its wake, and transcends to the clouds.
Delicate and elegant, a flock of cranes is wading, foraging in the thin milk, plunging their wedge-shaped bills into the mucky slime.
Quails are hobbling along, sweet birds.
Children are climbing the trees, not to escape the animals below, but because they want to live like the animals. The animals have liberated the children, freed them from the world of adults. The children, unafraid of the raptors in the trees, are living like raptors in the trees.
Do you see the tiger shark sinuating through the milk? No, it is, not a tiger shark. It is, rather, a hammerhead shark. A hammerhead shark is sinuously sinuating through the milk.
You continue to walk along the shore, never tearing your eyes from the magical Milk River.
The hammerhead shark returns to the surface. You see its blade teeth, its mouth glinting a serrated smile. You see its long head. It is slicing through the waves, down river. It has long green fins, fins that drive it through the milk, that propel it across the river. The shark dives deep into the bubbling milk. The shark then remerges, looking around with the eyes at the tips of its hammer-shaped head.
The shark dives again, deep downward. It twists and turns through the ruins of the drowned city, through the rubble of televisions sets and computer monitors, through the heap of telephones and Blackberries that is now a coral reef.
A whale is beneath the surface, swallowing the milk.
You follow the milky tributary with your eyes. Into what does it issue? You realize now that this may be the source of the milk, that all of the milk that is emanating from this milky source is irrigating and fertilizing what was once the city of Chicago.
The sun, high in the sky, casts spangles on the milky wavelets.
Submerged in the whirls and swirls of the milk, hippopotami slumber.
Asmear with the buttery semisolid milk-substance, the humans flounder about or float on their backs.
Sliding into the flood, the youth-seeking women seek to reclaim their youth.
The slow hypnosis of the elephants sinking into the foam.
The jetties of milk are spiraling. Spirals of mist, effluvial and white. Lacy mist-gusts.
The slope slopes steep into the seething milk.
Standing on a wind-whipped knoll, an albino mountain goat looks over the city.
Half-disappearing into the milk, a gorilla is going down.
A fish eagle broadens its gorgeous brown wings and swoops down into the shoals. It lifts itself back up and takes the air, a milky milk-fish squirming and dripping in its talons.
A heron is stabbing and spearing the milk with its sporting bill, stabbing and spearing at prey, prey that swirls within the shallows, in the swirling milky opacity, flapping their wings to flush out their prey, the mollusks and the fish in the shallow milk.
A cabal of shoebills, like a cabal of old heresiarchs, is standing in the milk, pecking for prey.
(A heresiarch is a heretic king.)
The birds seize milk-wet snakes in their gigantic flat scooper-bills, scooping up wriggling turtles, capturing writhing frogs in their scoops. There is so much life in the frothing milk, so much fecundity, squirming fecund life. Scooping shoebills on the shore, too. A mother shoebill regurgitates frog-meat into her chick’s waiting eager mouth.
The pelicans are doing their fishing, their throat-pouches bulging, standing in a circle, flushing the fish into their circle, herding them into the ever-narrowing circle and then sucking them up with slapping slurps. Above you drifts a flock of pelicans, flapping through the sky in a V-formation.
Waves of milk are hissing to the shoreline.
A cormorant spreads its wings widely to dry them in the punishing sun.
Milk tigers are sulking and stalking storks in the shoals.
The flamingo’s plumage is vibrantly, radiantly pink.
The sentinels of the lacteous swamp—the flamingos, the frogs, and the tortoises—keep their watch. They seem angry guardians of the river.
As the human beings slosh through bucketfuls of milk sludge, they forget the world of the city. They are dwellers of the river, and it is here that they will spend the rest of their days.
An eel is swimming undermilk—a thick, long, golden monster. A sinuating sea snake.
Fishing on the wing, the kingfishers fly over the rippling jelly.
Immersed waist-high in the shallows, a middle-aged man is muttering to himself. He is a failed musician.
The milk is gleaming with blue fish, fish the color of gun-metal, and pufferfish. Puffins dive into the white waves.
A mother and her son are drifting, in a bamboo skiff, across the lagoon of milk. The mother gestures at the antelope, the moose, and the giraffes that prance on the shore. You observe the antelope, the moose, and the giraffes as they dance their mid-afternoon dance.
Their tails lashing, the stingrays steer through the mucky milk. They are smoothly moving, their flimsy, pancake-shaped bodies waving in the waves, their pectoral fins flapping. They move smoothly and poetically, the stingrays, gliding on the surface of the milk pond like so many automotive lilies.
On the shore is a cube of solid milk. A wild boar is tusking the cube. The beast pushes its tusks into the mucinous mass.
The elephant herd comes down hurriedly to drink at the milk. A herd of zebra stampedes down the hill, following them.
You see an elephant and her elephant calf. The calf twitches her flanks as she buries her head between her mother’s corrugated legs.
Toward you is squawking a flock of mallards. All of the ducks scramble around your feet, squabbling and squawking.
A fox on the bank of the river is eying the geese and the ducks.
Sloshing its webbed feet through the white thickness, the Graylag goose honks his honking call. The gander’s wings are raised triumphantly, his neck slung back.
A strange bird with shiny blue wings and a large orange beak spirals and whirls and wheels around you in a friendly way.
The fox vanishes into the underbrush where the goslings of Graylag geese are hatching.
You see a crested blue ibis amid a flock of ducks.
Ducks lose their power of flight in captivity. Here, by this paradisaical river, they are relearning how to fly, how to soar through the air.
Basking in the sun, the hippopotami mesmerize you.
You recognize, staring at this milky birthplace, that the voyage of the humans, beasts, and birds ends at the Milk River.
Young girls are sponging and scrubbing a mammoth elephant in the Milk River, now whitened, beneath the LaSalle Street Bridge. Swigging it as if it were ambrosial nectar, the elephant sucks up and down the milkiness.
An inflated man, around thirty, is caressing the rough hide of a water buffalo.
Heavy, fleshy people are there, waddling about, humans of a glutinous, gluttonous obesity.
The elderly are vitalized in the flood of milk.
They are lapping up the milky zoo cream.
The human beings that bathe in the river of milk are revivified. It is the river of milk that has revitalized them. They are more alive now than they were yesterday, living with a new aliveness.
Humans are throwing their telephones into the milky muck. They are casting their iPods and iPads into the mucky milk. Androids and BlackBerries are splashing into the swallowing milk basin, leaving distending ripples in their wake.
The sun glistens on the milk-waves, and you wonder at all that is unfolding around you.
You see a girl with black hair. She is floating on a raft, much as you are. The shark rockets toward the raft, milk spraying on both sides, with jaws agape. Fins slice through the frothy milk lid. And yet the shark does not attack the girl on the raft. It rifts the waves and plunges deep to the bottom of the river.
Porpoise heads surface and laugh merrily. They bob their heads up and smile at the girl in the raft.
Humans sitting on the bank dip their feet into the river. Seals rub their whiskery noses against their brown and white human legs.
White crocodiles are swiveling their reptilian forms in the milky waves.
See the clumsy moose ambling through the grass. The killer whales lurk in the milk, waiting for the moose to tramp along.
They want to seize the moose in their jaws while the walruses, blubbery pinnipeds, look on.
Grasping the air with their tentacles, the octopuses raise their bubble bobble heads. The air is dimming around them.
A tall man in blue swimming trunks stands on the shore, raising his arms. He takes in a lungful of air and lunges forward, plunging into the milky bubblings.
The swimming man stands aloft and runs his fingers through his milk-saturated hair. Covered in the thick milk sauce, he seems a yeti or an abominable snowman.
The milk has a pearly sheen in the decaying sun.
Jaguar-sized giant otters, river tigers, are lurking in the shallows.
Grinning sharks pop up their parabola heads, ready to catch the flying birds in their toothy smiles.
The giant otters, their heads shaped like bullets, dive one after the other into the rush.
Milk is splashing over the rocks. A milkfall is splashing over the rock staircase.
Swimming guanacos are swimming in the glaucous-white flood, friendly camelids. The camels, the llamas, and the alpacas—they are floating in the glaucous-white flood.
You look up and stare at the NBC Tower, which is green with vines and red with flowers.
Paddling through the milk, four boys are exploring the deeps for lost treasures.
Flicking from branch to branch, a wave of butterflies flit and flutter along.
Cormorants spread out their milk-soaked wings on the rocks to dry.
Curving cetaceans—porpoises and dolphins—heave and plunge through the froth.
Sharks with steak-knife teeth tumble in the swell.
As the milk caressively laps the shore, the humans play in the flood.
There is a blonde woman, about twenty-five, bathing in the milk. She lowers her head into the milk completely. Only her blonde hair is visible now. Her blonde hair sways rhythmically in the tide.
An armada of sharks is coursing across the frothy milk.
Antelope are impending their lipless mouths over the welling and weltering ooze.
There is an old man, wearing a fisher’s jacket and a fishing cap, drifting in his canoe down Milk River, riding on the cushiony bouncy waves.
You see a shoebill spearing the milk with its bill.
A herd of moose congregates by the shore.
In a happy drove, the capybaras are swimming through the bubbly milk. Above the milky surface, the flat jagging heads of the capybaras, with eyes, noses, and ears on the tops of their spade-shaped heads. A lone capybara is jagging the jagged trunk of a fallen tree, gnawing at the wood. Wood chips are flying.
Water buffalo are attended by creamy butterflies, plasmatic butterflies. Yellow-and-black butterflies are swirling around a water buffalo that is standing on the shore. Butterflies are lofting on its long horns.
A dolphin springs into the air and, flipping, descends in a clean arc, slicing back into the milk, wagging its flippers. Twisting upward and downward, the dolphin ascends and descends spectacularly.
See the flocculating milk, the ever-streaming, ever-gushing milk, as it douses the humans, flowing all over them slipperily.
Here, human and dolphin commingle cheerfully.
Burgeoning from the milk, three shaggy brown bears climb to the shore, their furrowed fur glistening. You see the white teeth of the shaggy brown bears.
Marooned in the milk, a triad of humans waits for the milk to subside. It will not subside.
Bugling and honking, two geese rumble in the water.
Indifferent penguins are cooling in the milk. They are trumpeting, barking, and cawing. There are loons beside them, trumpeting and screaming like lunatics. A pair of exotic birds you cannot identify are yodeling, cackling, and cooing. A flock of birds with long yellow bills are shrieking, grunting, and croaking. They are fencing, snapping at one another with their bills. Another bird—reddishly plumed and yellow-billed—is calling, its call like the lashing of a whip.
A teenage girl squeals with glee as she wades into the milk and keels over on her side.
Kneeling in the milk, sinking into the murky eddies, the humans prostrate themselves before the milky wonders, the elephants and the hippopotami.
You see beasts and birds dancing alongside the river. This is a ceremony of some kind, a ceremony in which the boars and the flamingos are dancing an incomprehensible ballet.
Somewhere in the depths of the milk is the gaping mouth of a sea anemone, its tentacles ensnaring its prey.
The snow geese are whitely beautiful and beautifully white. Their webbed feet are powerful and propel them through the milky whiteness.
Propped on their forefeet like crutches, a harem of female seals with O-mouths flippers forward. Spindle-shaped, square-flippered, the seals plunge into the milk from the milk-slickened rocks. Twisting and turning, they pirouette beneath the milky film, mammoths of the deep. Bursts of bubble strands bubble up to the surface.
See the old man with a stick in his hand. His stick points toward the suctional gravity of the rushing river.
Swimming in the white, the hippopotami and the polar bears are silently calling your name.
Milk-moistened elephant seals bask on the rocks. They honk and snort, beached seals, yelping and barking.
Resting its head sleepily on a rock, a seal calf sighs. Long-muzzled, a mother seal nuzzles its baby.
A seal stares at you obliquely and curiously, seal-head atilt. The seal is bored. You bore the seal. It lurches forward with propulsive foreflippers, heaving and hauling its long spindly body, and lunges into the milk, which responds with a resounding splash and splatter.
Squirming in a milk-pit like Plath’s mussels, the mussels are squirming in the cratered pit.
A pod of walruses reclines on a rock at the center of the milk river.
See the pod of walruses.
From where you are, the walruses look like long-tusked gerbils basking in the sun. A massive pile of long-tusked gerbils, a horde of overlapping, interleaving gerbils with long white tusks and slipper feet. Look closer. Walruses look like boars—like marine boars or tusked sea pigs. Scrutinizing the walruses, you can see their thick skin, creased and folded. A huddle of mustached rasping walruses are huddling together. Bull walruses, mustached with vibrissae, are making knocking sounds, sounds that sound like the clanging of bells. They make clicking and clacking sounds, the bull walruses.
The milk is thickening, growing and growing gooily gluey.
Vicious leopard seals, seals that prey on crab-eating seals, are lurking on the rocks, watching the crab-eaters slip silently into the milk.
Skuas, roving seabirds, are describing beautiful arcs in the air.
A tumble of sharks, their dorsal fins diving in and out of the milk, is churning the milk.
Trousers rolled-up, a high-school teacher is wading in the milk. He is muttering to himself, lecturing an audience of students that no one but he can see.
Writhing pleasantly in the mud, a giant river wolf squirms and worms about.
Reclining luxuriously on its back, an elephant seal luxuriates in the cold sun.
Lowing cows are taking draughts from the milk stream.
The children seem almost amphibious as they dive into and sinuate through the milk.
The bottlenose dolphins plunge into the milk, pirouetting to the bottom.
You see the beak-shaped snouts of whales rising above the milk.
The humpback whale is flapping its flipper-wings and oozing through the milk. You see whales spouting milk-spouts through their blowholes. Through their blowholes, ascending into the sky, milk-geysers. The milk geysers upward and cascades downward, splattering on the milky film.
All over the white river are beautiful white breaching whales, white whales breaching the white milk.
Jets of milk jump into the air. The waves leap up and clap hands.
A killer whale swims upward and snatches a tree branch in its jaws. The branch snaps. The killer whale swallows the branch without chewing the branch. Though orcas have few teeth, they are powerful teeth.
How could any river hold so many cetaceans, and where did they come from? Some renegade marine biologists must have transplanted them from the aquarium.
Dolphins are mating in the milk. Dolphins are mating with the milk. You hear the strange squeals of the dolphins in the foam.
Leaping dolphins are leaping above the milky froth, spinning dolphins are spinning through the milky heaviness. Under the milk, a school of dolphins is dividing into smaller agglomerations.
A pod of killer whales is soaring across the milk.
The rhinoceros is on the shore, watching the dance of the porpoises and the dolphins. The plump porpoises are surfacing to the shore. They make no sound. Porpoises are inaudible. The dolphins are surfacing to the shore. They are chirping and chattering and squealing and squeaking to the rhinoceros on the shore. The rhinoceros looks at the dolphins quizzically.
The dolphins are serenading the rhinoceros. The rhinoceros says nothing. The rhinoceros says nothing and listens to the dolphins’ serenade. The dolphins float away, ignored and sad, attended by pulpy doughnut-shaped jellyfish and pancake-flat stingrays. As they drift away, attended by the jellyfish, the dolphins are chirping their song.
Out of the milk, looking at you, is the big head of a beluga whale. It has a funny white head. It is a smirking head. It is a simpering head. It is a smooth, grooveless, featureless head, a marshmallow head with twin black beads for eyes close to the neck, and a slightly parted carved crescent of a mouth. The beluga whale is mooing and booing and cooing at you. It makes ringing and clanging noises, as if its mouth were a bell. It is clicking at you, producing clapping sounds with its lipless lips. It is bellowing and whistling at you. Funny beluga whale.
The ghost-like beluga whale sinks slowly into the milky deeps and joins its school, the spectral school of beluga whales.
Watch. The beaked whales are arcing out of the milk and into the milk again. They are encrusted with clusters of barnacles.
The bison huffs through its shiny black nose and shakes its milk-sodden head, shedding rivulets of milk in all directions.
A shore-bound elephant is sucking milk into its trunk, pouring it into its rubbery pink mouth-spout. Its teats are being suckled by an elephant calf. Snorkeling elephants are trudging through the milk. Snorting porpoises are sailing balletically through the milk.
The elephant plunges its trunk into its own mouth, the trunk reaching deep into its throat, sucking out milk from its throat-pouch. The elephant draws the trunk back out and douses its body with the milky regurgitate.
Showered with milk, the men and women are happily splashing.
You gaze at a gaze of raccoons, bandit beasts that are rubbing their paws and dunking their black-mask heads into the unquestioning welcoming white milk.
You peer at the beavers on the shore, flappy flapping rodents gnawing on sneakers and boots and Italian leather shoes.
You are sitting on the aft of the raft.
Giant otters are sunbathing on the rocks, relaxing their slick and sleek and silky bodies, unfolding their sharp-toothed mouths, yawning them, showing the pink insides of their mouths and teeth that could tear through zebra flesh, rolling their sinuous bodies over the stones.
Gorging on chicken sausages, the crocodiles haul their bodies on to the rocks.
You see them, stately, the bizarre birds. Red-beaked hornbills on the milk.
The dignified heron stands in the whispery milk. With a brisk thrust of its bill, the heron threshes at its fish-prey.
Through the glutinous whiteness, fish are glistening.
Wallowing in the milk is a Cape buffalo. At first, all you see are its upward-curving hooked horns. The horns traverse the surface of the pool, relaying ripples everywhere. Now, the ungulate emerges from the pool, the milk dripping down its grey hide. Its face is stupidly insane and insanely stupid.
Two children—one boy, one girl—sneak behind the woman and push her into the milk river, the deck chair falling in with her.
The head of a great white shark is ascending, towering above the milk, its gaping razor-toothed sucker-head high out of the heaving waves, its maw inflamed, its gill slits raging madly.
Propped on a rock, a Human Resources manageress waves her arms at you helplessly. Moored and marooned in the river, she looks around herself uselessly.
She sees what there is to see: The river is heavy with mammoth eels and giant lampreys.
Creamy with milk, an accountant crawls out of the river.
You see a shark’s wing-like fins, its spindly body.
Beside the river is a grey-haired woman. She squats on rotting bark, beguiling the fish from the water with the promise of oatmeal and rye. Sweat drops from her forehead into the milk.
Dragonflies soar across the milk. A milk snake slides through hissing reeds.
Wavelets lasso the rocks that surface through the milky lacquer.
With a galvanic lunge, a gargantuan carp heaves through the air and sucks the offering from her hand into its toothless mouth. The fish flips and splashes back down into the filthy, murky, stinking depths of the river.
Sipping the thinning milk, the chickens gather at the bank. They sip, they gulp, they squawk.
Steer the raft to the shore.
Sloshing through the slush, you steer forward. The steer are lapping milk from the milk-streams in the channels.
You steer the raft to the shore. You climb out of the raft.
At the shore you are now. Douse your pinkened face with pearly river milk.
You kneel down. You take off your clothing. Now you are naked. You enter the milk. You wade into the unwarm milk.
Penetrating the silky milk, the liquid flows over you. You look at the flowers alongside the bank before you submerge and submerse yourself. Plunge into the ethereal whiteness. You swim. You open and close your arms, spreading them before you. You fold and unfold your legs. You turn on your back and then spin around and float on your chest. You feel the cool milk beneath you. You feel the cool milk around you. You feel the cool milk swallowing you. The milk rushes sloshingly into your ear canals. Your arms are swallowed by the white milk. Whitish fish swim in the currents. The milk presses itself lovingly against your front and back—holding you, embracing you. The mucilaginous milk. The soft and yet hard all-emulsifying milk.
You descend into the milky bower of bliss, into the pool of ecstasies.
Your head emerges from the pool of milk like the snout of a sea lion emerging from a briny sea.
You are swimming through the milk, spreading your arms in front of you. Turn upside down. You are floating on your back.
Now, you put your feet down. Swimming in and through the milk are sturgeons and eels, weaving between your legs. The milk river is like some vast dairy, pulsating with human beings and jaunty fish. You play in the milk river, one with the piscine and human life.
Some of the milk is solidifying into an insoluble yellow-white gunk, a latex-like goo. The milk sticks to your skin.
Into the jellified ooze you sink more deeply now, mingling your flesh with the milk.
As you descend into the river, the holy milk lactifies your flesh.
The gelatinous milk bubbles up. Before you flows eternal whiteness.
As you enter the deeps of the river, the milk yields and molds itself around your form.
You resurface, your head and chest above the milk. Milk streams into your hair and down your neck.
You see dogs. On the shore, dogs. The dogs are lapping at the milky flow, which laps up to your chest.
There is still much confusion on the subject: How did these sea-creatures find their way into the Chicago River? And how has the rather fetid water of the Chicago River turned into milk?
No one knows exactly how the eels, sharks, lampreys, jellyfish, and stingrays found their way into the milky bower. The consensus seems to be that they are émigrés from an aquarium, transported by self-recriminating marine biologists who had given up their profession. And this is not a hallucination, as hallucinatory as it might appear: This is as real as anything you have ever perceived. You can see, hear, and touch the piscine and crustacean life. The milk pond is abuzz with outboards and asplash with aquatic life.
You notice the giant-teethed giant otters skulking in the reeds. Grime-slickened, the giant otters are throbbing angrily, and you swim to the shore quickly and silently.
You lift yourself out of the milk and walk away from the river. You ascend the grassy slope.
You can still feel the milk against your skin. You can feel the milk inside of you. Milk oozes into your pores and nostrils and follicles. Flesh is turning into milk, and milk is flowing into you.
As you climb up the slope, you are greeted by baby antelope. The fawns fawn on you, lapping your neck with their hard purple tongues.
Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia
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
1. All of the plasms of the biosphere are rearranging themselves.
2. A clothing rack is wheeling down the sidewalk. A clothing rack with brightly colored halter tops and dresses. The clothing rack is borne by the wind.
3. Brilliant strawberries are growing at unimaginable speeds. Oranges are fruiting from the orange trees.
4. Even more tree trunks, crested with tangled branches, thrust up from the earth.
5. The climbers and scramblers, they climb and scramble, creep and ascend. Everywhere across the city, a congestion of vines, bamboos, and trees—the webbings and knittings of an impenetrable jungle.
6. Spiky leaves rise into the air—the plants are shuddering and shivering and soaring into the sky, blotting out the sun with their verdant growth, with their pulsing paddle-like leaves. The garden is enlarging. You are being engulfed by the ever-widening jungle. You are communing with the verdant paradise.
7. Energetic plants with myriads of purple tassels emerge from the sewer grates. Plants with purple pasties.
8. Rhizomes and tubers, white and serpentine, are slithering over the streets. Heart-shaped glossy semi-green leaves and blossoms with protuberant pink spadices, succulent floral spikes, form a living, undulating, variegated wreath—a wreath of life that chokes life.
9. European white storks, puffily white with black under-plumage, arch back their loopy necks and clack their bills in machine-gun succession, filling the space with a cacophony of clacking. They clap and clack their mandibles, perched on spindly orange legs, the savage raptors. Their clacking—it is like two thin wooden boards snapping together. Both heads are snapping and clacking and clapping, their loopy necks arched back, the clapping and clattering perfectly synchronized as if the storks were performing an avian ballet.
10. A scaly pangolin hangs from a branch with its gripping serpentine tail. The pangolin yo-yos on the branch, scaly dangler, uncoiling and retracting.
11. A weasel lifts itself erect and scratches the tree bark.
12. Solemn on the branches, watchful and sedate, there is a parliament of owls.
13. Beneath the cover of the thicket squirm and slither black snakes.
14. A tangle of overgrowth entangles the roofs of the apartment buildings and the condominiums.
15. Fiercely piercing bristles of grass permeate the red rug.
16. Rain drops pelt your face. You look at the sheening black-wet pelts of the panthers as they skulk through the rain curtains.
17. You are uncamouflaged and alone.
18. The great tree’s pulpy fruit is pelting the pavement and smashing against the solid ground and melting into yogurt-like ooze.
19. You sight the white flash of a deer’s white tail as the deer shape bounds past you.
20. The finches, air sprites, dazzle the crowd.
21. You hear a low bellowing and see the brisk movement of the hedges and foliage and know that something animal is scampering through the underbrush.
22. To your right is a precipice.
23. Illuminated advertisements light up the night.
24. The hair salon is now a grotto; the art gallery is now a lagoon. The Christian Science Reading Room is a lunar harbor.
25. The spacious night streets that you amble down welcome you.
26. The passers-by are walking slowly, with heads aloft, gazing at the rising vegetation. You notice the sluggish sleepiness of their gait.
27. He yanks open the door and slouches back into the room.
28. Before, carnivory was a luxury. Now, human beings are compelled to vegetarianism or veganism.
29. The vines extend their green tentacles over the red automobile.
30. Streams of milk break through the fissures in the fissile wall.
31. Streamlets of milk worm across the checkerboard tiling, moistening your feet.
32. In the jeweled gloom of the dusk, there are exotic black birds with silvery diamond patterns on their plumage. What birds are these?
33. Twisty, braided vines are shooting into the windows and storming beneath the doors.
34. Sunlight invades the room in clean shafts.
35. As the greenery unfurls before you like a painting, you see the nail-and-eyebrow salons, pharmacies, and outdoor cafes gradually disappearing, receding into the spaces between the green.
36. Watch the milk-splattered jeep as it splashes through the milk.
37. Cascading milk envelops the toys and the dolls.
38. In the swampy thickness, human tourists lave their arms and legs.
39. He slaps down the corridor in his slippers.
40. You walk beneath the vaulted archway.
41. Sunlight slants into the room and illuminates a futon covered in a purple satin blanket.
42. The sudden stare, so full of black hatred, dismays you.
43. Tree shadows fall on her pallid face and leave zebra stripes.
44. Walking through this botanical metropolis, you feel more at home than you ever felt in the human world.
45. A pride of cats, black and hissing, stalks the underbrush.
46. Under a flowering peach tree, the tiger is buried.
47. She reaches out with one arm, grabs the branch of a tree, and pulls it to her.
48. Racing down the branch, his limbs flailing, the man capsizes to the ground.
49. In this Edenic garden, there are humans with viperine tongues.
50. She is sneaking away into the midnight distance.
51. A tree with leafage that looks like a girl’s uncombed hair is shuddering in the wind.
52. The gusts of wind are not sighing or moaning—they are bleating like sheep.
53. You have stumbled into the animal’s lair.
54. Towering sausage trees are transcending to the sky.
55. Clattering down the sloping street are baby carriages congested with squirming weasel, ferrets, and tiger cubs.
56. Swinish human beings, grubbing for snowboards and iPhones, are rummaging through the shopping-center rubble.
57. A gigantic grizzly is standing on its hind legs. It jumps at a triad of deer, charging at the deer, which sprint in three directions.
58. You observe all of this from your observatory.
59. You sally forth into the vaporous street.
60. Fastening the door behind you, you turn to the left. You clatter down the staircase.
61. Alligators: They looks like dinosaurs, terrible lizards with the hearts of birds.
62. Snatching the letter from his hands, the old woman snarls.
63. The wind ruffling the hair on its back, the buffalo snores.
64. The cooing of a toucan alarms you.
65. Enjoying the pleasures of food, scratching themselves, the orangutans are squatting on the ground.
66. Iguanas are scaling the walls, while pangolins are nosing the walls, their paws scratching off the paint.
67. Human beings are weeding the weeds along the banks, gathering flowers for a broth.
68. Clutching the spreading branches, you thrust one leg after another into the thorny net, inserting your body through the hollows.
69. Light is filtering through the filigreed leaves on to your forehead, an intricate pattern of light and shadow, wandering pilgrim, itinerant seer.
70. Undulating, beating their long flagellae, jellyfish are ballooning in the tank.
71. Mud-covered tourists are sloughing through the mud.
72. He stands up, stretches his arms, and walks to the window. He surveys the greening city.
73. You blink your eyes, and the boy disappears.
74. You look down the edge of the precipice.
75. Wriggling out from beneath the bed sheets is a nest of snakes.
76. You fasten the window shade.
77. The frontier of the city is enshrouded in fog.
78. The condor umbrellas its wings and whishes downward.
79. They draw their beaks over the curtains, tearing them asunder.
80. A yellow-raincoated man steps out of the building and into the street, bearing an umbrella.
81. The entry of the culvert is waist-high and covered by a ledge of granite.
82. You stoop to peer into the opening.
83. Beneath the granite overhang are cowering humans, cowering in the dark.
84. Your body slips sideways, and you are tumbling down a grassy slope.
85. Your eyes fix on the entrance, where a column of light penetrates the blackness.
86. A gelatinous red substance is smeared over the bread.
87. With a coarsely serrated saw, he cuts through the wood.
88. He slumps against the hill, unclutching his walking stick.
89. There is a man in his hideout, watching the slinking cats through binoculars.
90. A sandaled blonde girl with a rainbowed T-shirt joins the throng.
91. The pelicans, intrigued by you, waddle toward you and peck at your clothing.
92. It is a box of dark wood paneling.
93. Illuminated by a phosphorescent fluorescence, the elephants trumpet their terrible calls.
94. She extends her right arm toward the jungle behind her.
95. The vines are the color of oregano.
96. This triggers a strange reaction from the cat.
97. She settles into a wicker chair and snatches a book from the white coffee table beside her.
98. They are tossing milk into the street from water pails.
99. You can hear the clanging of a bell and the whirring of a siren.
100. Hooked into the virtual world, they sleep their solipsistic sleep.
101. She runs her left hand absently over the dog’s coat.
102. Spraying milk everywhere, the coming stampede heads north.
103. Look at all of the carapaces bobbing up and down as they weave their way into the market. Ovoid things, egg-shaped creatures.
104. A cyclone of vultures is swirling over your head.
105. Squeezing through the door, the wildebeest and oryx seem to be talking to you. But they make no sound.
106. Spasmodic weasels spasm their way through the Best Buy.
107. Looking with rapture on the gleaming field, you see that is populated by squirmy animals.
108. Revenant shapes appear before you, nightwalkers walking through the night.
109. Alighting on the refrigerator, a massively winged vulture bows its wrinkled neck and ruffles its feathers restively.
110. Gyrating in gyres, the vultures and the buzzards are watching over you.
111. An African white-backed vulture hangs in the air, its talons tucked in.
112. You hear the chirping of birds, the whirring of whirling insects, and the chittering of cellular telephones.
113. The irruptions of the plants and the appearances of the animals have fertilized the entire city.
114. The raft drifts away into the wash. The rafters drift away into the rinse.
115. You stumble over the toppled wire fencing.
116. The pinkish clouds as they rise above the trees and drift across the skyscape.
117. Staring at your mirrored reflection in the ceiling, you admire your ears. Your ears are like French crullers glutted with lemon yogurt. Your auricular helix whorls like a conch shell.
118. See all of the hominids. They run, splattering the whitish fluids against the wall.
119. An owlish postman quietly awaits the coming of the animals.
120. Grapes are growing slowly in the fog.
121. The cold hurts.
122. Spotted dikkops are bowing their heads into the baptismal basin of milk, their legs propping them up. The contradiction between their hungry downturned beaks and their lofty legs surprises and amuses you.
123. Drunk on the sight of the new-sprouting semi-translucent purplish grapes, the Goth boy drops to his knees and kisses the vines.
124. A horned owl is sweeping through the plum-colored sky.
125. The street resembles the epidermis of a human being, with all of the creases and crevices of the skin, with all of the nodes and lobes of the human flesh.
126. The barn owls bolt down the peach-flesh.
127. Mice nibble on the apples.
128. As the herds magnify before you, you become aware of the shrinking of human spaces.
129. Lammergeier vultures are seizing bones vertically and shattering bone against rock with bone-shattering glee.
130. You see a raven perched on the twig. The raven is coming for you, its wings flogging the air. Now the raven is coming at you, shards of black gloss shimmering. Its cast-iron bill jackhammers the rock.
131. Cawing raucously, a flock of crows is floating high over the zebra herd.
132. A bustling cluster of blackbirds is pecking at a seed-spill.
133. A hummingbird nestles in its nest of human hair, an egg cup bedecked with lichen and human sweater lint.
134. See the up-gushing mop heads of the lushly leaved willow trees.
135. A little spill of daylight leaks inside. The daylight is the color of a chicken yolk.
136. Boulevards are unraveling in all directions.
137. The children are bathing in the miraculous treat that spouts from an invisible teat.
138. Milk-film sticks viscously to the walls, a kind of sticky milk-jam.
139. Climbing up the flight of stairs, you head toward the door.
140. The man enters the room.
141. A fever ignites in the television set, a frothy phosphorescence.
142. She smells like a sausage decomposing in the sun.
143. An expanse of green grass lies before you, speckled with yellow flowers and droplets of sun—this is too real to be kitsch, too living to be a cliché.
144. Nettled by nettles, a solitary musk ox noses through the underbrush.
145. He looks at you through batrachian eyes.
146. Those otiose tortoises, those solitary wanderers.
147. The sidewalk is fringed with dandelions.
148. You roam across the pavilion, imagining with a dreamy certainty that human animals will never again be able to establish their dominion over animal life.
149. Down the sloping lawn, the quivering cedars form a tangle of branches.
150. A tree with foliage that looks like the bristles of a broom has sprouted up through the fissured tar.
151. Without anxiety, you walk across the room.
152. As you ascend the staircase, you hear a humming behind you.
153. Energetically, dynamically, you jaunt into the room.
154. The police are swinging their batons, and all you see is a flurry of black nightsticks.
155. Whirling fish eagles are whirling overhead.
156. A shattering peal erupts from the building.
157. Sylph of this jungle, hanging on a bough, the arboreal genet yawns.
158. The automobile lurches to a halt in the milky residue.
159. Immense glass buildings stand over you, glass buildings webbed with green vines.
160. The highway leads to even more greenage—it would be a mistake to believe that there could be some escape from the spreading green, from the expanding pan-garden.
161. The slate-roofed buildings are covered in orange groves.
162. The exterior of the building is lit by floodlights.
163. The sunlight reflects on the steel and glass surfaces.
164. The police officers pry the struggling owl free from the bamboo vine cage.
165. Humans are now en prise—exposed, vulnerable to capture.
166. Wriggling and writhing, the snakes wiggle over the rug of leaves.
167. She is looking at the wild grass with an impenetrable gaze.
168. Green filaments are wrapping themselves around the hamburger eatery.
169. The boys are flinging milk balls at one another, balls of congealed milk.
170. The red-stockinged missionary is embracing the stems of the flowers.
171. She slips into the room and softly steps toward you.
172. He turns on the kitchen faucet.
173. With a liquid gaze, you survey the room.
174. The human beings flood the garden.
175. The deepening dark.
176. TESTING: ONE, TWO, THREE.
177. As if “every human being who remains in the city will perish” were a festive thought.
178. A lone Goth is striding elegantly to the dark hills.
179. Pocketing some of the chestnuts that have precipitated from a triad of newly grown chestnut trees. The trees form a small circle.
180. Hear the snoring of wildebeests.
181. A tangle of black hedges.
182. The bread-eating humans are eating in packs, eating their bread without butter.
183. They fear that the ingestion of dead animals would roil the living animals that have colonized the city.
184. They fear that carnivorism would be translated as an act of provocation.
185. Green, vine-encrusted trunks and vast flowing vineyards explode upward in a volley of green blasts. Between the bursts of foliage you can occasionally see flashes of human flesh.
186. He titivates himself in the mirror.
187. There is a winged figure in the middle of the intersection, a woman wearing filthy artificial wings—wings that are a damp and dampened white.
188. Veined leaves touch his cheeks.
189. You are alarmed by his bluntness but say nothing, running your fingers through the shag.
190. Stems wind their way around his ankles.
191. Black fruit dangles from the vine.
192. Surrounding you are scrofulous warehouse-sized lounges, restaurants, hair-and-nail salons, and banks: disintegrating buildings that are cloaked in vines.
193. Milkfall floods the streets, a thickening deluge of milk rising ankle-high.
194. As if it were a sanctum where human sacrifice takes place.
195. Raising itself in flapping flight, the raptor ascends windily.
196. The whining and growling of the crows fill your perked ears.
197. Some of the pelicans are windmilling through the air, flapping and fluttering wildly.
198. He jerks open the door and stares at you ungrinningly.
199. The shivering fronds of the palm trees entrance you.
200. The women are shucking corn in the muck.
201. Sheep are racing down the steep savannah.
202. Beneath the surface of the milk, kelp-stalks dance.
203. Lucid sky, the sky is a lucid blue.
204. A shower storms down on the human wanderers.
205. Like a beautiful dead woman, she lies there without moving. It is as if she were beautifully dead.
206. Her lips cleaved, she sings a few verses from “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot.
207. Within the shafts of daylight projecting through the slants are dancing particles of dust.
208. Scenting the deep, pungent aroma of a wood-burning stove, you somnambulate into the room.
209. Now the McDonald’s and the Kentucky Fried Chickens are populated by flora and fauna and no human life. Human beings are wandering about in moving human islands, ignorant of the ways of venery—how to hunt a beast? how to trap a beast? how to kill a beast?—and fearful of a mass-animal backlash.
210. You hear the poppings of gun shots in the distance.
211. Moving through, scything through the receding partitions of green, a tribe of humans looks for shelter.
212. Like zookeepers watching the back-and-forth movements of caged tigers, the animals are admiring their human pets as they stride back and forth.
213. The majestic elephant sprays its thick hide with milk emitted from its snorkel-trunk.
214. They fly off in long strings, all trails of beating wings and puffed-out plumage.
215. Hippopotami are making their pilgrimage through the shopping mall.
216. He rolls on the ground, covered in white and black rabbits.
217. The human sanctuary is now being torn down by the rabid beasts.
218. Snickering koalas and sniggering baboons snigger and snicker at you and your human colleagues.
219. Speckled hyenas race into the clothing store, their crazed tongues lapping.
220. The hyenas are running after the magenta and green dresses, pulling down the dresses, snuffling mad hyenas.
221. You see a hyena nibbling and teething the fleshy toothsome pink meat of a medium-rare filet mignon and hear the hyena snorting.
222. Every animal is in the forest of the city, it seems—every beast and fowl except for the Dodo Bird and the Tasmanian Tiger.
223. Grinning-teeth zebra look at you grinningly, their sleek striped bulk bright under the fluorescence, and stamp their hooves.
224. It is hard to believe that there was once a time when human “masters” would sic what they believed to be their dogs on other humans.
225. A spray of orange flowers in her hair, the wispy woman drifts through the garden, where the wasps are dancing and circling.
226. It is possible that human and sheep could coexist sheepishly on the planet.
227. You make your way through the crowd—the frowsy and drowsy crowd that envelops you.
228. The minotaurian man is laughing joylessly as the world that he once knew topples into the dirt.
229. He is a man like a centaur.
230. A girl in yellow rubber boots is sloshing through the milk.
231. Snakes, eagles, and crocodiles are on the watch for mice.
232. The mice are corkscrewing their way through holes in the wall, now grown porous.
233. You look into the void, and the void does not sadden you. It is a happy void, a blossoming void, not a hole of hell.
234. The hogweed is sawing in the wind.
235. The verandah creates a vacuum, a shelter from the gusts.
236. These are trees that yield funny yellow fruit, gourd-shaped and waxy.
237. You hear the resonant chattering of the capybaras.
238. Pink-wattled condors, their face-skin like raw skin, boomerang in a semicircle.
239. A slow, heavy boy shambles toward you, zombie-like.
240. He slips into the primeval forest.
241. The crowd is stirred into a high state of tension.
242. His face is striated with lines of concentration.
243. You hear the whisperings of the humans.
244. Wolverine, wolves, hyena, and lynx huddle together in a circle.
245. Overhead, a great American Eagle spreads its wings.
246. The wind clears the clouds from the sky.
247. At the crest of the awning is an angelic figure—humanoid, female, and seraphic, the figure’s vast wings spread.
248. A skeletal elderly woman comes muttering along.
249. The walls of the building are painted orange and green.
250. A hive of animal activity.
251. The exigencies of survival have not displaced rituals of worship. On the contrary. The distress and direness of the human situation have, if anything, multiplied these rituals everywhere.
252. Above you swarms a storm of hornets, ready to descend on the families in the trailer park a few miles to the north.
253. Voracious predators of every stripe gather in the forest, waiting for hapless humans to wander within. You listen to the howling of the verminous beasts.
254. The mole digs with its diggers, its oversize claws, and twitches its twitchers, as it burrows into its hibernation burrow, a nest of gritty litter.
255. A tribe of humans, looking very much like a vaudevillian troupe, has gathered around a bonfire.
256. Monkeys and dogs reach out to you promiscuously as you walk down the sidewalk.
257. You see the figure of a girl silhouetted against the bright floodlights.
258. Slinking pards are slinking after elk, sneakily sneaking pards with slow black forepaws.
259. You see a dog walking his pet human. You see a boar walking her pet human.
260. In the feline and avian hierarchies, the female seems somehow strangely less beautiful than the male or at least less embellished.
261. Thrashing through the foliage is an elegantly violent panther with a clean, lethal mouth.
262. Somewhere in the darkness, the great cats are viciously eviscerating elk and llamas.
263. You hear a clacking and a cracking in the distance.
264. The spectral horses are wafting through the night.
265. The animals are hiding in the darkening wood.
266. The possessions are possessed by the boars.
267. Two young boys, garbed in red overalls, stroll over the midnightly streets like rolling automata.
268. The liquescence of the city. The milk is the liquefacient that liquefies the city.
269. Listen to the crazy dogs rustling in the leaves.
270. A twig snaps.
271. His legs splayed, he beats the ground with his fists.
272. The herd drives forward, propelling across the field.
273. These are twisting plants with awl-shaped horns—the leaves are green, the horns are anaemically white.
274. The animals populate the bestiaries of the night.
275. The bird is grasping a mobile telephone in her talons.
276. Slithering down the trunks of the trees are arboreal boys.
277. The animal shoots out its claw, raking into the smoothness. The claw hooks into the flesh and tears.
278. Settling down to feed, the hyenas are chewing smackingly, devouring their prey.
279. Driving the elk to the ground, the panthers are preying.
280. The lion is pounding at the window in a flurry of paws.
281. The elephant tramps silently into the club and trumpets shrilly.
282. The elephant sinks flabbily to the ground.
283. His mouth slobbering, he slouches into his coat.
284. The humans are wrestling in the milk like roaring bears.
285. He sags to the floor without a sound.
286. His beauty is beautiful.
287. Baying hounds arch back their necks.
288. Her jaws slam shut on the vehicle.
289. Her head is the shape of a cantaloupe.
290. Snarling as she advances, the cat is coming closer.
291. The Human Resources manageress looks like a sea-ogress. She flashes a flashing smile that seems out of place. Behind her, an ever-erupting jungle of bestial madness.
292. A hawk-faced former bartender shovels the milk overflow into the gutters.
293. With the Ice Age came the mass death of mammals. Here, we have the mass proliferation of mammals, the exact obverse of the Ice Age.
294. You are trapped there—in the street—as the herd rushes by.
295. Humans have now resigned themselves to culling and procuring fresh fruit.
296. Human-watching giant otters and human-watching leopards come together to watch the human beings as they lurch down the milk-flood streets.
297. Hovering clouds of flies are hovering over a fallen antelope sprawled out in the middle of the street—alive, not dead. You turn your head away.
298. Like them, you are hypnotized by the hypnotizing beauty of the tigers.
299. The egrets are swallowing the chocolates and the gumballs.
300. Covering the trench with wooden boards, the humans huddle in the lamp-lit trench, huddling in their Snuggies and chattering into their BlackBerries and iPhones.
301. A lurking anaconda is lurking, waiting to swallow a tapir.
302. Some of the vines have finger-like projections—and they are waving at you, the finger-like projections of the vines.
303. You distinguish a mob of humans drifting through the fog.
304. Dandy of the jungle, the radiant parrot wafts through the benighted space.
305. While her husband slaves in the field, harvesting the corn that sprouts from the pavement, she feeds the carp that dance in the river behind their makeshift homestead.
306. She snaps on the light and drops into a tall white chair.
307. You hear a fizzing and a fizzling in the distance.
308. Gripping their parasols, the women splash across the milk-splashy street.
309. Behind him, you notice something that you had noticed before.
310. A school of young boys are swimming in the deepening milk-street deeps.
311. Lugging a sack of God-knows-what, she retreats into a doorway. Her smile is empty and lingers there on her face like the skeleton of a dead feeling.
312. You see the spaghetti-like masses of wormy-tentacled squirming squid in the milky epidermis.
313. Sausages—meat in hyper-thin casings.
314. His face is like a bag of skin tightened around a skull.
315. She spreads her angry wet talons.
316. His lips are twin larval squirmers.
317. Bulbous babies bubble and burble in strollers pushed by long-haired blonde women wearing black yoga pants.
318. Now, the babies are shrilling manically and maniacally.
319. Before you is a fence entangled in knotted wire and vine.
320. They regard you with nervous passion.
322. Their udders are blue-membraned.
323. Channeling through the speakers is the music of sunfish.
324. Purple lights bob from the ceiling like electric pomegranates.
325. You unpurse your lips and say nothing.
326. Below you, swelling blood mushrooms.
327. She unsutures her lips.
328. Let them cross their legs on the sand.
329. There they are, the humans, trying to eat their inesculent food.
330. You hear her laugh sunnily.
331. You scan the fleeting shape of this young woman.
332. And here is a city, for the first time in millennia, unmarked by the graphemes of time.
333. They are parasoled under their parasols, bescarfed in their scarfs.
334. You flow together, voiding your minds of cloudy thoughts.
335. A digital mirage of flesh fills the cube.
336. The houses shiver nearly imperceptibly as the wind blows through the city.
337. Her brown dress looks like the soiled cassock of a monk.
338. Flailing wildly, the tendrils of vines rope themselves around the steel girders.
339. Reeling down the night streets, you pursue the boy.
340. Lunging toward their quarry with muscular forearms, the tigers are tearing toward the darting deer.
341. White polyps are thrashing in the milk. Yes: There they are. There they are: White polyps, with filamentous tentacles, are thrashing in the bubbling milk. Covering the smooth ectoderm of the polyps are clusters of knob-shaped excrescences. Their knobs are throbbing.
342. You are surrounded by yelping hounds and chattering monkeys clattering down the street lamps and building walls.
343. He rhythmically opens and unopens his knees as he talks.
344. The hippopotami trundle from their milky lairs, over the banks, and on to Clark Street.
345. He looks like an oversize tree frog.
346. Moistening his tongue, he continues his speech.
347. Birds with arrow-shaped orange beaks whistle through the green geranium.
348. Pliantly, they bow to the lowing animal herd.
349. This sour-visaged witch of a woman smirks at you, then scowls. In her previous life, she was a Human Resources manageress.
350. Sopping wet in Bermuda trunks that cling to his thighs like fungi, the banker climbs on to the bank.
351. No hunters to hunt them, no stalkers to stalk them, no bushmeat traders to bushwhack them—the animals are free, whatever that means. Humans cower in the shadows, fearing reprisal from their animal brothers and sisters.
352. The hippopotamus shuffles its little legs, little legs which prop its massive bulk. Yawning its maw, the hippopotamus opens its jaw opens to a perpendicular angle. You can see the hippopotamus’s gum line, its protruding incisors, the abyss of its gullet. You feel the gravitational pull of its larynx.
353. The hippopotamus bellows and rushes at the Hyundai.
354. It is late evening, and the sky is a darkish red. You walk alongside a long wooden bench. A skulk of foxes is skulking on the long wooden bench. The foxes are curled up, sleeping on the long wooden bench. A young woman with dyed red hair, around twenty-six, is sitting on the bench, absently stroking the fur of one of the foxes. She is sulking and smoking a thin white cigarette.
355. The sky is an auroral pink, like the pink frosting of frosty pink-cream doughnuts.
356. You step over a blueberry bush, which fills the doorway, and insinuate into the studio.
357. You survey a corner of the vast lagoon from the vista of the window.
358. Before they invade you, the mosquitoes dance in a circle.
359. Loose and wet, freed from their aquarium cubes, the glisteningly fat Moray eels.
360. The window offers a prospect on to the happy jungle.
361. They are dappled by mottled shadows.
362. A jolt of gratitude passes through you—you are still alive, after all, and not dead.
363. She sighs deliriously. His stick prods the jungle plants.
364. She opens her carmine lips and looses screeches of an ear-piercing violence.
365. The rogue taxi driver, his hands clutching the wheel, is now a permanent piece of furniture in the youth hostel of your memory.
366. His fingertips turtle toward you.
367. Asplash in the milk are a slippery pygmy hippopotamus and a white goat—the white goat is laving itself in the white salve.
368. Sobbing, the woman soberly removes her hat.
369. They (the birds) empty their cargo into the abyss.
370. Capsizing into the foam, the marine mammal.
371. They lunge-feed, gorging on the mammoth whale.
372. The whale-watchers are eating their lunches.
373. Husband leaves wife, wife leaves husband, husband leaves family, wife leaves family, and love fluidifies more quickly than a ball of wax in a microwave.
374. Watching from the verandah of the house, they observe her as she suns herself on a deck chair beside the rushing milk river.
375. The elderly man with grey gloves and skin the texture of parchment walks as if on a pair of stilts.
376. As he makes his way into the butcher’s shop, the patrons stare at him.
377. The tables are translucent.
378. You feel an aortal throb coming through the animal’s thickly shagged coat.
379. Her skirt is a fuzzy nimbus containing vague symmetries and hidden promises.
380. Phantom figures enfolding seagulls in their hands.
381. The seagull snatches the doughnut from the counter, catching it with its bill. The bird arches its delicate head back and swallows the doughnut.
382. In the concourse, outside of the gallery, the guard visits her with his eyes. His gaze is an empty, roving, unrecognizing gaze. She smiles her life-smile, which disarms the guard.
383. What is one to say of a girl who could find so much in a smile?
384. You can see a seizure of fascination forming around the guard’s mouth and in his posture, a milky spasm, a coronary of desire, foaming up within him as he uncalmy observes her coltish calves.
385. She sighs. She is forever on the verge of a sigh.
386. You observe her calmly, narrowing your eyes at every index of movement.
387. It is as if there were halos of pigeons circling her. It is as if she were a contradiction, as if she we were there, in the art gallery and, at the same time, as if, disengaged, she were never there to begin with.
388. Casting an eye over the valley, the eagle sights the hulking beasts pushing ahead.
389. Yellowing lights yellow up the hallway.
390. She is beautiful because she is self-possessed, because she pretends, perfectly, to be unaffected by the gazes of men.
391. She is studying each one of the forty-one paintings that pass into her scrutiny.
392. You watch the lions, one after the other, pounce on the gigantic giraffe.
393. You watch the guard speaking unguardedly with another guard.
394. She plunges her teeth into the skin of the tangerine. Her mouth envelops a pocket of tangerine-flesh, enfolding it with her tongue.
395. He reaches for a branch, in an act of empty defiance. He pulls the branch, snapping it free.
396. She wafts out of the art gallery and toward the white café. She hurls the undigested nectarine into a garbage bin.
397. The café is adjacent to the art gallery.
398. You must make a decision: If you follow her too closely, she will know that you are following her. It would be better to advance her movements, to steal a march on her. You know that the girl will eventually end up in the white café that is adjacent to the art gallery. It would be best to saunter directly to the café.
399. A rude boy who lusts after the slimy tomatoes that grow in your garden. For this is your garden now. This is your Garden of Earthly Delights.
400. The wolverine are lashing and slashing the dresses with their big claws.
401. They gulp down the food, as if the food were you.
402. The food starves the animals. They want more.
403. He applies thick gelatin to his hair and combs it into his scalp.
404. Headlights sear over your head.
405. Gliding bats slice open the night like razor blades.
406. He is donning tortoise-shell sunglasses.
407. You feel the weight of your body being absorbed by the window.
408. Their presences seem locked—his hand flattens against the window, spreading against the plane, growing amorphous.
409. Her hand slithers under the booth and creeps slowly upwards, the shroud of her fingers.
410. He turns his slackened, corpse-like body over and over in the grass, freshening his weathered senses with greenest summer.
411. You shiver in the gelid breeze.
412. You follow him through the thronging masses in the town square.
413. His eyeballs are too large for his head, bulging orbs shooting from his skull.
414. A miasma of stupidity.
415. His hands are waving like useless flags.
416. Their red faces shine like gore-stained beacons.
417. Her lips tremble like viscous butterflies.
418. A wave bursts against the shoreline, and a film of milk coats the pavement.
419. Combers strike the edge and splash upward, spraying the windows.
420. The crests of the waves are white with foam and tower above you.
421. The torrential blasts, the breakers, are ramming the shore.
422. See the mouthless smiles of the lampreys. They splash and jump into the air with merriment.
423. Their mouths expand and close rhythmically.
424. The fish flip waterlessly.
425. You dance about in the mayhem.
426. Humongous sperm whale flying straight up, its flippers flapping as it rises, the milk enveloping you.
427. Camels, gibbous donkeys—the camels seem so dimwitted.
428. The boy is a plasma-child.
429. How could these mysterious words have emanated from his grasshopper mind?
430. She looks like Nastassja Kinski in Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1979), the sweat and the dust forming a kind of vegeto-human pollen.
431. His words are transcriptions from his incomplete thought patterns.
432. She is cast as one of the impure nymphs who populate the burlesque shows in his mind.
433. Menacingly gorgeous and gorgeously menacing women are standing on the balcony.
434. She has gossamer velvetine skin and glisteningly moist strawberry lips.
435. Dashing into the clothing store like spermatozoa, here comes the crowd.
436. Then, in a misplaced game of manners, he drinks the milk from the ground.
437. Like an earthbound seagull, she falls.
438. The boy is the incarnation of that character in your dream.
439. His examinations are closing around him like a tightening fist.
440. She has spoken of everything.
441. In the night sky, spiraling and wheeling, the night birds are spinning. The raptors are rapturous.
442. It is the ugliest, most revealing thing anyone has ever said to you in your life.
443. The raccoons are swiping the cellular telephones.
444. He slams down his fist and leaves the table.
445. The old man walks briskly down the stairs.
446. He hops down the stairs.
447. He whirls around as her steady hand touches his shoulder.
448. He is wearing goggles. The pesticide surrounds him as if it were a cumulus cloud.
449. His eyes burn with red irritation. He falls backward, holding his throat as he spills on to the uncut grass.
450. Her face is suffused with the luminescence, the coming of the purulent milk.
451. The animal has contractile claws.
452. Her face grows gravid.
453. See the cow’s blubbery milky milkers.
454. They are supping on the sap.
455. A whole herd of people liquefying, fluidifying, spreading, foaming, deliquescing before their televisual vision.
456. The alligator people race toward you now, coursing across the green. You scuttle to your feet. They, the alligator people, are already out of the forest and are now running across the lawn, running fast. Their teeth are showing. They are howling, they are coming for you.
457. They laugh richly.
458. His mouth is like the prow of a ship.
459. She has prismatic eyes.
460. Her hair is iridescent cobwebbery.
461. You sail through the fisheries and flesheries of the night.
462. You tremor, the spasms stirring you.
463. The conduits that led to the sterile tanks had been smashed—but you cannot scent rancidifying milk. The milky milk is still fresh and never putrefies. You cup your hands and douse your face with the unguent.
464. A precious young woman is sleepwalking into the bleeding black.
465. Her slippered feet make unique patterns.
466. A raven hovers near your ear in a mad blizzard of clacking and fluttering, as if it raced inside and then hurriedly exited.
467. A lethargic boar is burrowing his snout, routing and rooting, into the dank bristles of the grass.
468. Contraceptive devices dangle from the skeletal tree branches. Crushed wine bottles litter the flat open field.
469. Her hair is slithering like a mass of baby whales.
470. A shred of sunlight cream lights the horizon.
471. Barnacles are masticating on telephone poles.
472. You are as useless as a wingless bird.
473. See the rising quagmires.
474. Her pupils invade your own.
475. She says: “I live in the house down the street. My house is red, the same color as my hair.”
476. The people make garbled, mouthing warbling sounds.
477. The most desolate are those who are in a mass, not those who walk alone.
478. Barnacles and blackish-green vines are jutting through the bathroom wall.
479. They sail above the river like ghosts of misty clouds.
480. A sterile old man with gyrating hands is describing invisible arcs on his unfresh overcoat.
481. You are watching the lovers lambada in silence.
482. You study the topography, the geography of her body.
483. Her hair is yellow, not blonde.
484. The lops are loping.
485. The giants (the elephants) are sucking up the leaves.
486. You hear gasps of shock.
487. The leaves are flaking the unraked lawns, and the clouds are ghostily wispy.
488. An obscene profusion of plants is cascading from the boy’s mouth.
489. The fruit falls into liquid decay.
490. The swirling sirens form a glistening chandelier.
491. You notice the untesticled groin of the boy.
492. A man with an antelope head is chasing a young boy.
493. Clawing through the dirt, the husband and the wife are very dirty.
494. She is a breathtakingly nippled, milk-soaked princess.
495. He says: “Mick ran up to my bed and circled his tongue in my ear.”
496. The old man has very clean fingernails.
497. Globs and vulgar fingers are sloping into greening stalactites.
498. Dinning across the sky, the Air Force planes are coming.
499. She dunks into the pure mud.
500. A supernova of milk.
501. The endless discourse of tree and sky.
502. The sticky white larval substance adheres to your fingertips. Some of the milk is as thin as homogenized, pasteurized milk; some of the milk is lumpier and thicker.
503. Big gawky bright-red birds loft in the branches. Not cardinals—what are they? Swamp deer are coursing through the shallows of the milk marsh.
504. In the aquarium, suspended, the sting rays, the groupers, the Moray eels, the wolf eels, the Brown Sea Nettles with their ungiform sex glands.
505. She absorbs admiration in the way in which the sperm whale absorbs octopuses.
506. Love is death. Killing as animals do, that is love. Human beings are animals that have deceived themselves into thinking that they are human.
507. His Italianate nostril-flaps widen. He is breathing through his puckering nostrils.
508. Your mind unrolls its dream-like tentacles and sighs.
509. The windows are grimacing.
510. Your face is the universe.
511. All the voluptuousness of life is in your eyes.
512. The question surfaces like the snout of a seal through the waves of a briny sea.
513. The Venus Fly Traps are closing their mouths, their green lids closing around unseen victims, trapping their prey in their green drums. Strangely sculpted green formations emerge from the ground, pitchers of rubbery green throbbing at the end of their stems. Some have writhing trumpet-shaped flowers, red and white. Rows of hair-like protuberances line their leaves. Some of the giant green plants are secreting a viscous white liquid from their hairy leaves. Their lids are slippery with white.
514. You struggle up the stairs to a grey door.
515. You lift the binoculars to your eyes and peer.
516. Entering the darkness, you grope your way through the shed.
517. You place the flashlight gently on the table.
518. You are empty of any desire to interfere with the beasts or the trees, with the burgeoning plant and animal life.
519. Big green leaves, as big as elephant ears, are flapping in the breeze. The branches of the trees are softly wavering. A shiver passes through you. The trees are quavering greenly.
520. Clearing away the undergrowth along the bank of the pond, the human scavengers make for themselves an encampment.
521. Above you, bats are curled into their leathery wings, hanging upside down like stalactites, dropping pod-like from the branches.
522. Canadian geese are coming across the lawn awkwardly in a wobbly triangle.
523. The squirrel is chittering on the tree.
524. The city beyond is a paradise of flying birds and green-leafed trees.
525. You descend into the milk-wet ditch.
526. A flurry and a flapping are overhead.
527. They are having a picnic. Their picnic is investigated by moose and camels.
528. Her fingers are unfreshened but pleasantly fragrant and thin.
529. Retracting into the shadows, he is watching you, his eyes glistening with madness.
530. The nightstreets are laden with foamy fog, enveloping the banked whirl of walkers.
531. Her eyelashes snap shut.
532. She has prismatic eyes.
533. Spotted Colorado Rangerbred horses are chewing on the leaves and chortling to themselves.
534. You are jolted by the energetic jerks of the free-moving horses as they jaunt across the plain. They are like comets rocketing across the lunar green.
535. You can see the scissored outlines of horses against the pale sky, luxuriant horses that move with luxuriance and speed, with heads the shape of swans’ heads, oatmeal-colored horses, horses with well-sloped and luxuriant shoulders, gypsy horses, high-action horses driving forward. Furiously galloping, beautifully black, a Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse mounts the hill.
536. A rhinoceros lurks in the tall grass, its horn-prod pointing like a vicious cruise missile.
537. Herds of zebra and oryx send up clouds of dirt as they gallop over your body.
538. The gazelle, zebra, and gnu march into the glistening park, where the trees are growing in profusion and the grass is moistened with milk.
539. Milk-soggy camels lick the milky cream that flows from the fissures in the street.
540. The camels amble, followed by fat black snakes, dry-yet-moist crocodiles, hump-backed feathery eagles, and seething cats. Path-paving rhinoceroses amble through the bamboo thicket, snorting manically.
541. Look! The rhinoceros is charging the Prius as if it wanted to eat it.
542. Speeding along the road, the car collides with the rhinoceros. The rhinoceros jets through the air, and the car tumbles over.
543. A baby rhinoceros is rubbing the cow rhinoceros’s flank with her horn.
544. A deluge of rhinoceroses bursts into the Italian restaurant.
545. The boar’s fur is coated with beachy sand.
546. Pork-pink hogs burst out of the elevator.
547. His snout poised for action, the boar studies you.
548. Striped like watermelons, snorting through their snouts, a sounder of galloping boars comes over the bridge.
549. With wriggly twist, the snake squeezes itself through the hole.
550. She says: “I want to learn French because French is a romance language, and I am very romantic.”
551. They, the alligator people, run so quickly that they might be hovering, levitating over the frozen grass.
552. The alligator people have already passed the lawn and are now in the forest.
553. They laugh richly.
554. You are quick-transforming into a stag.
555. Slowly slackening, your flesh folds around your knees. You are changing shape, antlers sprouting from the crown of your hairy head, your face elongating, flaxen hair spreading over your body, your feet splitting open, hooves protruding out of the breach, the hooves of some daemon-deer, your skeleton warping.
556. Lapping madly, the alligator people lope into the empty spaces of the forest.
557. No one accompanies him, except a retinue of happy fleas.
558. A rustle of leaves announces everything.
559. Her eyes stare into his eyes.
560. You are tracing shadows on the floor.
561. You run motionlessly toward the spume and foam of the awaiting sea as it cascades on to the shoreline.
562. You frown before bursting into a delirious giggle.
563. The raccoons probe their black-masked, diamond-shaped heads into the rubbish. Their dexterous hands finger the rubbish, their ringed tails swinging rhythmically.
564. Hedgehogs, woodchucks, and voles run mirthfully over your prostrate body.
565. Their mobile telephones erupt into a symphony of cheeping, chirping, and weeping.
566. The badger luxuriates in the sun.
567. The badgers are excavating their burrows, digging and digging with their hindpaws. All of the badgers are moving in exactly the same way. They turn around at exactly the same time and look at you in exactly the same way, with exactly the same inquisitive faces.
568. The shrews probe the meat with their long, pointy, protuberant pink snouts, micro-anteaters.
569. Blind moles are blindly preying on recumbent grasshoppers. The moles are golden balls of fur with searching noses that feed without seeing their prey, the twitching grasshoppers.
570. You see a throb of rabbit and a throbbing herd of gerbils. The rabbit squirm and squeal on the counter. Their warren is a steel cupboard in the kitchen.
571. Skunk-like polecats dance playfully in the street.
572. Streaking across the street, a pack of ermines is racing fast from bush to bush.
573. The crocodiles are spying the gnawing nibbling rabbit and the ballerina-like storks.
574. The rabbit teeth chisel through the door, splintering the wood.
575. The squirrel looks at you with its puffy, funny face—spluttering and sputtering.
576. A mink lies beside a quiet seagull. The seagull is nesting. The mink nestles softly against the gull’s plumage.
577. The pizzeria has become a rabbit warren and a goat sanctuary.
578. She scrambles toward the Home Depot.
579. Slapping their tails, hissing and grunting, the beavers are cavitating, hollowing out a maze of tunnels beneath the linoleum flooring.
580. You open the window and extrude your head. You take in a deep breath.
581. The zorilla raises its skunk-like tail in alarm.
582. A blue trailer lulls in the distance.
583. Their ferrets have long since been set free, and now it is the distrustful humans who are fretting in the shadows. Scurrying Frettchen. (Frettchen is German for “ferrets.”)
584. Thunderous howls, yells, and bellows fill your ears.
585. Gnawing passionately on an iPad, the bear ignores you.
586. The black bear looks askance at you.
587. Wolverines are licking the inside of the sedan.
588. Seizing the pizza disc in its mouth, the wolverine thrashes its head back and forth frenetically. Wolverine—gluttonous skunk-bear.
589. Frogs expand and contract at the approach of the shadow-licking coyotes.
590. He flops down on his back and yowls and howls.
591. The crowd is performing a pantomime of human confusion.
592. She raises her head as if sniffing the air, as if lured inexorably by some irresistible scent.
593. The coyote scents your human arrival.
594. The flappy ears of the African wild dog turn like radar antennae.
595. You see a grey wolf. Its tufty fur shivers in the wind.
596. The African wild dog crouches, couchant, and curls up.
597. Looking sullen, the dog suddenly opens her jaws and shows her sharp long teeth.
598. Lithe, the coyote, its thickly furred tail wagging behind it, with long purple tongue dangling, pads toward the man in the red jacket.
599. Timber wolves crowd around their prey, lowering their heads and gnawing, feeding on the carcass of their fallen quarry. What is it? Strips of red flesh. Pulling them and tearing at them, their white jaws reddening. You hasten past the spectacle, ensconcing yourself behind a tall oak. Howling wolves howl.
600. The yellow head and the red breast of the bobbing and jerking Chinese pheasant, so regal and so ridiculous, fascinates you.
601. Long-muzzled and bat-eared, the coyote covers the distance with its sentinel gaze, policing the prairie. The coyote shakes its grizzly hide and laughs soundlessly.
602. The jackal opens its jaws, exposing its stiletto teeth. It is a striped jackal, with razor-like carnassials, concave ears, and a long, thick, bushy tail. The jackal jerks its head and sharpens its feline eyes. It hears something rustling in the underbrush.
603. The jackal is jogging toward you. You open the heavy iron door of the building and step inside.
604. Licking the air, the hyenas encircle the elephant.
605. The wind is lashing the trees.
606. Rangy and orangeish, a fox is hunting for the squirmy squirrels and grass rats that pulse and feed in the grassy enclosure.
607. As the yelping pack of coyotes fades into darkness, you fasten your gaze on the tremulous humanity that has gathered before you.
608. Raising your head slowly, you peer at the beast.
609. You hear a slow turning of wheels and a plashing through milk. You hear a car.
610. Gulping the water as if it were God’s food, the man is pressing his head against the tree.
611. You stop, glancing at the unopened door to your right. A humming is coming from behind the door.
612. Following the herd of humans, you retreat to the depths of the forest, where all that can be heard are the crocitations of crows and the blaterations of baby birds.
613. The plants that had been hacked away have recolonized the empty area.
614. Screechy fisher cats—two of them—lunge at the squirmy rabbit.
615. They laugh as the telephone sinks into the dark, dank deeps.
616. You pad down the path toward the rupturing tributary of milk.
617. The nurseries and the gardens are multiplying infinitely.
618. You plod along the path, looking at the sky’s obscurity.
619. Eager to get an unobstructed view, you ascend the ladder.
620. Sauntering along the hill, you look out across the valley, gazing at the place where the roads collide.
621. On the other side of the pond is a hyena that laughs in laughing barks.
622. You become aware of two humans in the milky mist.
623. The milky milkiness invades every window and trails beneath every door.
624. You follow the girl into the forest.
625. His mind has unsheathed itself.
626. You dance along the crisp knife of the shoreline.
627. Cupping his heat-worn hands with milk, he ablutes his mummified face. The milk cascades down his neck.
628. A legion of mermaids and mermen is pleading with you to join the marinal civilization.
629. You see a crow-like woman swaddled in silken whiteness.
630. The comedian calls the woman in the audience a “slug-sucking wench.”
631. A platoon of troopers combs the forest in search of derelict humans and habitable dwellings.
632. Crouching, its stomach pressed against the earth, the tiger readies itself to spring.
633. Gazing upward, you see what appears to be a platoon of humans staring at you from the parapet of the tower.
634. The perimeter is ringed with survivalist humans, each armed with a rifle. Their faces are hidden by black balaclavas as they eat their baklava.
635. The humans penetrate the jungle more deeply, sweeping aside the grasses with their homemade scimitars.
636. Rampaging over the hill is a rhinoceros, snorting through its abyssal nostrils.
637. The lawn is pulsating with sunshine and frogs—scintillae of sunshine and leaping frogs agglomerate into a frog-and-sunlight soufflé.
638. Climbing out of the ditch, your clothes are moist with creamy fluid.
639. She smiles slowly.
640. A donkey is trotting down the street, accompanied by a shamanic nomad.
641. A neighing Appaloosa, a horse with white mottles on its sleek chestnut coat, is braying and neighing.
642. Strawberry roan-stained horses with inexpressive nothing eyes are looking into you. Or do their eyes speak a language that you cannot comprehend?
643. You caress the beast’s thick crust-like hide.
644. You see the mellow mirage of a woman in a canary dress.
645. Galloping, graceful impala emerge.
646. She shifts from a leisurely gait to an open run, without pausing.
647. You stand up, your right hand pressed against the wall, steadying your ascent.
648. Stout donkeys with gigantic ears and huge black eyes ringed in white, no longer used for pack and draft, run free, escapees from human dominion.
649. The donkey is licking the neck of the man who was once its master, rubbing its long purple tongue across the human neck-skin.
650. Chewing horses with brown velvet eyes are chewing the sausages.
651. The moose bows its many-lobed antlers. It purses its lips as if readying its lips for song.
652. Crouching in the undergrowth is a pasty-faced lawyer wearing a pink tie.
653. The llamas are hoofing through the store, their hooves clattering.
654. You watch the bright zebra as they bolt over the open field.
655. The horses lower their heads and pull out the grass that pierces the tar with their long, sturdy teeth.
656. Tiny-headed, long-torsoed thoroughbreds, gracefully withered. Emaciated horses with no one to feed them, wandering through a human necropolis.
657. Between the streetlights is a massive rhinoceros that grunts and bellows.
658. You touch the tapering muzzle of the Westphalian horse.
659. At the side of the road, a zebra lowers its striped neck and eats grass that is springing from the tar in lush tufts.
660. Beneath the rising mist, the guanacos are grazing. Their coats are luminous.
661. The camels amble at a halting pace, milk-drenched and indifferent to the human tribes.
662. Fleeing thick-haunched antelope and hardy zebra with richly odiferous skin flee from the rampaging lioness.
663. The odor of horse tickles your nostrils.
664. There is an empty beer bottle left in the grass by a frightened attorney.
665. They are the gardeners of this vast grove, of this massive living herbarium.
666. An emo with dyed-black hair steps into the road.
667. The El train is clattering above your head.
668. A crazy-eyed middle-aged man wearing a pink button-down silk shirt is standing there, looking at you.
669. Into the glittering multicolored swarm of human beings you walk, human beings who are amassed before the sprouting plants, staring in bafflement before the plants as they grow upward.
670. A troop of tigers is marauding stealthily through the grassy highlands. They stretch themselves out on the grass, spreading their bodies flat. They look at you and wait.
671. He gazes at you dazedly, his forehead glazed with sweat.
672. She nods rapidly and flits her eyes left and right in a paranoiac daze. You gaze at the rapidly approaching caravan.
673. The aroma of cooked pork delights your nostrils, and there it is, in the clearing: a caravan of humans cooking pork.
674. The tiger darts into the spongy green mass.
675. Staring at the leopard from a distance of one hundred feet, you silently retreat down the narrow pathway.
676. Holstering his gun, the man looks you up and down.
677. Coquinating humans are there, cooking their toothy meat.
678. He drives you down a paved road and into a courtyard encircled by a low wall.
679. You spy on a troop of vagabonds.
680. A fountain of milk geysers into the air, leaping milk-jack.
681. You decide the follow the woman as she disappears into the forest.
682. A safari of humans is visible, a safari of humans looking for shelter from the spreading waves of animality.
683. Coldly staring ostriches are overlooking the encampments of the humans.
684. This is a ceremony in which sacrifice is made to a spur-of-the-moment god.
685. What will happen when the goats arrive, when they devour the greenery, when every stubble of grass has been chewed up, absorbed, and expelled into wads and tubes of goat dung?
686. The beast hisses and crawls closer.
687. He tenses his body.
688. Flicking his tail, the tiger studies you.
689. She is wearing slippers with a checkered patchwork of doe-eyed mice and zinnias.
690. Rain-wettened limousines silently slither down circuitous paths.
691. Harvest-moon red lipstick lines her thick lips.
692. The lamprey towers above the water, its gaping sucker-head high out of the heaving and swaying waves, its maw inflamed, its grill slits raging madly.
693. He holds the glass of beer in his hand as if it were a urinalysis sample.
694. The child lilts through the store, lifting the fronds of her eyelashes, showing you her glittering eyes.
695. With bulging eyes and lolling tongue, the zebra zigzags into the department store.
696. Clenching the clothing rack, gripping it with its flaccid trunk, the elephant calf brings it down.
697. The scent of the elevator tickles your nostrils. It smells like a new plastic toy.
698. The elevator door uncloses. The elevator is bustling with jutting-necked emus.
699. Pecking at them, tearing at them, ripping them open, the birds attack the trousers, the suits, and the blazers.
700. Transferring her vigorous energy through electric space, the lioness rockets into the concourse and down the escalator.
701. The slender antelope legs trot steadily toward the mezzanine.
702. An explosive rush to Neiman Marcus: not a rush of shoppers, but a rush of antelope and zebra, flying through the entrance.
703. A pack of hyenas roams the shopping-mall jungle, stopping at the fountain on the first level, where the duckbill platypuses splash in the green water. They are slurping, their gigantic pink tongues extended.
704. A torrent of zebra floods the department store.
705. The owls are hooting their booming hoots, rasping and snoring, calling to one another. See the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, propped on a cash register. Its plumage is tufty brown and creamy caramel. See its yellow discs, feline oglers, yellow irises with black pupils, the yellow-and-black eyes that spy you.
706. The shopping mall is well-illuminated, but there are folds of darkness. Ensconced in each fold of darkness is a nest of animals.
707. You see a solitary coyote stretching out its body, sheltered by the tall grass that is sprouting through the tiling, creeping up to a sinuous viper, its jaws ready to spring open. Sensing the coyote’s heat, the viper slithers out of sight, spooling into the grille of leaves and branches.
708. The gleaming hide of the propulsive boar shines in the fluorescent lighting.
709. The male lion paws the mirror greedily with his greedy paws.
710. Squeezing into the kitchen is a goat, its hooves clapping.
711. The old man knots his robe as he stork-walks down the corridor.
712. You reel through the corridors, looking for the woman, for the figure of the woman who vanished into the building.
713. She reclines on the couch, fanning herself with a newspaper, a relic from a forgotten age.
714. The capybara scratches against the toilet, stretching its body against the cold white linoleum.
715. Phantasmal boars are thudding into the department store.
716. Your gaze shuttles between the cougar and the maiden.
717. You can hear the moles tunneling beneath the floorboards.
718. The manager enters the room, holding a bullwhip.
719. Walking into the courtyard, you see two unyoked oxen.
720. The entire shopping center is leafy and leafily Arcadian.
721. The hare is cringing. You lunge—the hare escapes you, streaming across the shopping mall concourse in a white streak. So swiftly does it run that it could only be the arctic hare.
722. Dazzlingly colored parrots are lifting themselves from their branches. A pink cockatoo is roosting on a plasma-screen television monitor.
723. Beautifully green vipers are coiling around the mannequins and clothing racks.
724. Another human-eater is dragging the mattress with its jaws, dragging the fat mattress into its hovel.
725. Circumnavigating the shopping mall, a troop of baboons is arm-swinging, treading the same path that mallrats once tread.
726. You yank open the door.
727. Trundling through the Children’s Department is a gargantuan elephant. The elephant manipulates the toys, using its prehensile trunk as if it were a hand.
728. Giraffes speed across the showroom.
729. Whishing through the concourse, waving its bushy tail, its black cloven hooves clattering, the horned wildebeest storms the home-appliances department. Vines trail over the rhombus-patterned ceramic flooring.
730. The rhinoceroses are snorting and shoving one another lewdly with their rude noses. They collide with a table; the trinkets tinkle to the floor.
731. The gazelle, the antelope, and waterbuck are slowly padding through the forest that has grown and the gardens that have blossomed in the department store.
732. The white wooly coat of the mountain goat shivers in the air conditioning. The mountain goat is an unmoving animal. It might as well be a taxidermic puppet. It does nothing. It simply stands there, with its sharp grey hooves and its sharp black horns. Its mouth is open, and its teeth look like human teeth.
733. Trudging over the puddled ground, soppy and soapy with milk, you see that the green landscape has grown sparklingly radiant with milky dew reflecting the declining sunrays, a grassy milkscape numinous with lush verdant foliage and pearly milk droplets. Ocelots roam through the tangles of grass, stopping occasionally to drink from the bubbling puddles of milky pudding.
734. On a raft with his beloved, a suntanned chet steers through the thick cheesy milk sauce.
735. The pungent musk of decomposing badgers fills your nostrils.
736. A saurian lunges at you as the raft passes.
737. Your shoes are reddened by dapples of tomato sauce.
738. Tendrils of tree envelop you where you walk.
739. You see the boars jogging on all fours alongside the lake.
740. Wild pigs are racing around the lush banana trees.
741. You walk past the fauna-filled liquor store, with storks strutting and frogs jumping.
742. On a tree limb are hopping, laughing blackbirds.
743. You hear the raucous crowing of a rooster. Do roosters crow at the darkening of the day? The pigs are squealingly singing.
744. You amble into the restaurant, which is now a playground for boars and deer.
745. The chickens and the pigs immerse themselves in the wet earth.
746. A rogue giraffe escapes, breaking away from the herd, and wanders into the lek where the red deer are rutting and mounting one another.
747. The rejected suburbanites are moving about like amateur mountaineers in search of a nonexistent mountain.
748. A stately kudu stands and looks at you judgingly.
749. Her carmine lips close on a pomegranate.
750. Green parakeets light on the long V-shaped horns of a gemsbok.
751. Butterflies dance around the swirling, spiraling horns of the male greater kudu.
752. Two zebra duikers are licking each other.
753. Tawny red, with long coltish legs and splayed hooves, a herd of deer rushes before you in a single red line.
754. Cantering deer leap over the car-perimeter.
755. The okapi extrude their long grey tongues and tongue the ice cream.
756. The forlorn hipster is wearing a grey “Beardo.” The lost hipster wanders through a world that he cannot transcend.
757. In the lobby, sitting on foamy cushions, there is a family of four.
758. Triangular tongues emit from their pointing mouths.
759. Slumped in his chair, he opens a novel and pretends to read.
760. Gazelles and flamingos spiral around one another in coiling patterns, forming a double helix.
761. You haze past a vagabond who is brandishing a whip. Yodeling and whooping, the vagabond swishes his whip, herding and corralling sheep into a makeshift pen.
762. The gerbils glom themselves on the wall.
763. The reedbucks, the rheboks, the hartebeests, the topis, the bonteboks, and the wildebeests are parading down the street in a motley mob. They sway their horns; their dark coats are glistening in the moonlight. They bleat and bay.
764. The moose shoves its muzzle into the popcorn machine.
765. You stroke the goat’s coat.
766. You hear the bleating of the sheep.
767. Jumping down the street in a fox-trot, the elderly couple sings “If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot.
768. Flocculent sheep, you cannot believe your eyes, frizzy white sheep lowering their heads softly and chewing on the dandelions that grow around the firs.
769. You touch the rippling leathery skin of the topi. Its nothing-eyes look at you or at nothing nothingly.
770. The pointed muzzle of the wildebeest probes the gumball machine.
771. Exuberant dancing gazelle and gemsboks are dancing.
772. Doves are lilting down to her brown feet.
773. The deer are hopping and leaping on the grass, clashing their antlers, singing silent songs.
774. The moose rub their velvety antlers against the tree trunk.
775. It is dusk, and the long-tusked deer are lapping milk at the estuary of the milk bog.
776. Massively antlered moose stampede into the distance.
777. A tangle of horns, the reindeer clash and buck.
778. You see the coming of the milk swamp deer.
779. Hogweed lines the milk lake.
780. A rum-hued deer raises its head and roars, displaying the inside of its corrugated mouth.
781. You see a bristly musk deer, bristling. The musk deer springs forth and briskly climbs up the stopped escalator.
782. She looks at you inquisitively, as if fatty brown tentacles were shooting out of your ear canals.
783. There: a yak, a yak with a long, thick, shaggy coat of shiny whitish black hair. Its white horns are majestic. It arches its back and snorts, lowers its white horns and plunges its white horns into the earth, foraging for food. Its eyes see nothing.
784. A herd of ibex sweep across the storeroom. Two ibex clash, their deep-ridged horns locking together. They stamp their cloven hooves.
785. The hartebeest—hardy antelope with absurdly taut and narrow faces and lyre-shaped horns.
786. Gazelle nuzzle the faces of human babies with their muzzles.
787. A tawny deer races into the dressing room.
788. The gazelle raise their delicate heads and extend and purse their lips and vacuum up the unshriveled green leaves that are covering the McDonald’s.
789. You walk across the lawn, the grass whipping your legs.
790. Unharnessed buffaloes are treading the grass freely. You admire their stately movement.
791. Mottled roan cattle roam across the field.
792. A calf suckles her mother’s udder.
793. Sucking and pulling, a calf is draining milk in short draughts from the teat of its mother, a hornless brown Sussex cow that is mellowly mooing, lowing in low moos.
794. A young girl coos with wonderment as she strokes the ivory fur of a sacred white buffalo.
795. You see her kneeling in adoration before the water buffalo.
796. The cattle move steadily forward, nimbused by the mist.
797. The cows kiss one another, extending their long purple tongues.
798. They slip into the waiting oceanic malt.
799. The cows sway their mammalian udders and turn their eye-domes toward you.
800. The musk ox—richly furred and odiferous—is staring at you. He has ridiculously bobbing eyes and a mouth that seems to be smiling.
801. Bison are combing the prairie, a prairie that is striped with long tree shadows.
802. She tousles her burgeoning water-buffalo-horn mustache, as if grooming and shaving were no longer necessary (and surely they aren’t).
803. Raising its head, the cow softly mutters a rumbling mutter and then bellows a long foghorn-like bawl.
804. As you approach, the herd of buffalo shifts to the left.
805. Scanning the buffalo, you inch toward the vaulted archway.
806. Buffalo stand in the breaking sun.
807. Sticking its snout into the hole, the anteater wriggles its silky body forward. Its snout is a wormy sucking tube.
808. The crows zip between the pillar-like legs of the elephant and dart to the height of the ceiling.
809. You stare back at the big beast.
810. Her eyes are hid in dream lashes.
811. He rubs his hands as he speaks as if he were rubbing off an adhesive.
812. Glancing furtively at the albino kangaroos as they hop along, the men are having a conversation that only they can hear.
813. Young pink opossum babies fasten on to the teat of a mother Virginia opossum. Other, more sedate opossums dangle from the telephone wires, silently in space.
814. Listen to the trumpeting of the swans. They, the swans, are grazing over what was once a British Petroleum gas station—it is now a pasture. What was once a gas station is now entangled in tendrils of weeds. The cars are enmeshed in the ever-growing garden of weeds. Monstrous weeds, ten feet tall.
815. Milk is bubbling up from the subterranean world. A white taxicab trundles down the street, splashing through the splattering milk waves. The taxi driver looks back at you, his eyes brimming with humiliation.
816. Low-flying crows skim the vine-encrusted streets. The glossy wings of the crows jackknife. Their flight is powerful and indifferent.
817. Another bird—it resembles a turkey somewhat, but has iridescent-silvery plumage—is roosting in a fluffily leafed tree, burbling and bubbling inanely.
818. Snowy egrets calmly stroll past you, ignoring you, succeeded by a flock of stately flamingos. Black-necked stilts are bearing up and swallowing down wriggly worms, worms that slither through the grasses. A Blyth’s hornbill has secreted himself in the hollow of the tree. Masked lapwings wade in the mud. White butterflies flit and flounce about.
819. The chickens quiver in the nail salons, in the pharmacies, in the bicycle shops, in the restaurants, in the barber shops.
820. You look at the alligators in the lagoon. The alligators are sloughing through the slough, slogging through the slog. And there are shrubberies now where there were no shrubberies yesterday. You see a parade of turkeys waddling through the shrubberies. The turkeys hold their heads high, moving in a gentle but clumsy gait, rocking gently backward and forward.
821. Look at the sun-illumined street, the clouds leaving chiaroscuro patterns on the tar. The sun is glistening in the milk puddles.
822. Keeping your eyes fixed on the lonely man, you walk southward.
823. Horribly emaciated human beings are sleeping in the afternoon sun.
824. Pirouetting downward, they alight on the army of beer bottles and wine coolers.
825. Grinning vacantly, glaring elsewhere, the black-bearded man is clearly losing his mind.
826. His face distorted in a spasm of agony, the man unloops the lasso that loops around his neck.
827. A beleaguered populace, a mob of masks, faces you.
828. Gasping audibly, the unwary man stumbles backwards.
829. She flits from passenger to passenger.
830. Staggering from the jolt he received, he drops his weapon with a slap and bolts for the alley.
831. Tremor of fear shoots through you.
832. She moves breezily through the room, the smiling girl.
833. Herons are strutting around like Ecstasy-popping scenesters.
834. With upstretched necks, the swans strut into the Kentucky Fried Chicken.
835. At first, the residents of Chicago were joyful; now, they have grown irritated.
836. Wiggling and wriggling and worming and squirming, the mongooses have the pizza all to themselves. They have their way with the pizza slices.
837. A man is led by his dog.
838. You are less affected by the misery of humans than you are by the nobility of the beasts.
839. Like a parade float, a raft of foxes, wolves, cheetahs, orangutans, llamas, and giraffe makes its way down the street. Human beings drift along the sidewalks, watching the bestial parade go by.
840. Heaped with stores of food fifteen-feet tall—cans of pears and beans, bags of rice, stacks of pasta and tomato puree—the space is well-stocked.
841. Coasting along the milk-wet street, a carful of girls streams past.
842. The milk-puddled road parts.
843. You are passed by a man in his mid-twenties. His face is mask of panic. His shirt has been diloricated by a maundering leopard.
844. A milk-hole is pullulating milk in the middle of the dining area.
845. Typing on his laptop as if he were playing a piano, the hipster is not alone in the theater of his mind. He is outside of himself. He pretends to be self-contained, but there his mind is—out on the street, among the parking meters, the billboards, and the milky slime that gurgles up from the sewers.
846. Irruptive emerging of geysers of milk, spraying an umbrella of milk into the air, a leaping fountain.
847. Deer fawns, the color of rum, are browsing through the cherry blossoms that blossom in the shower.
848. You break through the entwined net of vines.
849. You see a dance of gazelle. Bouncing up and down, stotting gazelle are leaping over the heads of the mountain lions. Then they, the gazelle, sedately trot away. The mountain lions are yawning and stretching themselves on the freshly grown grass, the grass that covers the street.
850. You emerge from the forest.
851. Animality is replacing humanity, and there is nothing that you could do about it. Human beings are now subaltern animals, no more important than mosquitoes.
852. A girl, completely bald, is stooping over a puddle of milk. She scoops up a palmful of milk. She rubs the milk into her face-skin.
853. Bulb-nosed gharials lurk in the grasses that surround the lacteous lagoon, waiting to spring on the springing chickens.
854. There are crocodiles everywhere, basking in the sun and bathing in the milk. They sway down the milky street, slowly waving their tails at you.
855. Basking in the punishing sun is a retinue of crocodiles. Lifting the tips of their noses above the milk skin, their mouths gape.
856. You walk past the hotel. Vines drape the hotel. Translucent grapes hang from the vines like so many pearl earrings.
857. The zorilla raises its skunk-like tail in alarm.
858. The badger luxuriates in the sun.
859. Thunderous howls, yells, and bellows fill your ears.
860. The cinereous vulture zombies back and forth like a shambling homeless man maundering about. Blue flesh surrounds its sharp, hooked, iron-like bill. The vulture shuffles forward, ruffling its dirty brown feathers.
861. You trot on until you reach the main road. You reinitiate your journey.
862. The vaporous gloom of the late afternoon shrouds the landscape.
863. Breath flooding out of your body, you look to the right. The big ebony eyes of a pygmy owl entrance you.
864. You feel the brisk, bracing air.
865. On the sidewalk: The tarsiers are feasting on grilled and marinated flank steak and prosciutto.
866. The woman is ruminating over the fallen groceries.
867. Holding a Styrofoam cup, he looks at you unmenacingly.
868. The traffic is interrupted and then accelerates again.
869. You lie there, struggling to escape the questions that surface in your mind.
870. The sky grows an energetic plum, bloody firmament.
871. So many erumpent gophers, pressing into the daylight.
872. If you skinned the hybrid offspring of a mole and a rat, it would indeed appear identical to the naked mole rat.
873. A prairie dog, achingly arching its back, is slowly unslouching. The prairie dog lifts its head as if readying its solemn mouth to speak, its V-shaped snout high in the air.
874. Under your prying eyes, all of this looks mysteriously beautiful.
875. An untrammeled mob drifts into sight, a farrago of cars, trucks, trailers, and Sports Utility Vehicles.
876. Survivalists stand at the threshold of the jungle, light filtering through the branches in curtains.
877. So many thoughts are swimming around in the aquarium of your mind.
878. You see through the window that the milk has seeped into the gym—the milk is waist-high, the uncoagulating, unrancidifying milk, the emulsifying plasmatic milk.
879. You stop asking yourself questions and observe what you observe.
880. Her fingers wriggle and wiggle in her lap like octopod tentacles.
881. As she speaks, you stare at the worminess of her eyebrow hairs.
882. She cannot sustain your stare.
883. Laughter cascades from her mouth in frothy streams.
884. The city looks like a deconsecrated cemetery.
885. All of the flowers are opening up inside of you. All of the animals are gestating inside of you.
886. The goats are marching from the mattress store.
887. Ruffled turkeys are clinging to the window sill.
888. Her hair is a mobile garden of diseased vegetables.
889. You collapse into the white pool of putrilaginous slime.
890. You rap on the door and toggle its knob.
891. Look at the cheesiness and the chalkiness of the milk.
892. All bursting wings and feathers, seagulls arc in the celestial sphere.
893. The air is redolent of an aquarium.
894. You smile as if you were throwing a birthday party for yourself inside of your mind.
895. Your flesh, deliquescent, is turning into fluid the texture and color of malted milk.
896. He walks behind her, ensorcelled by her ensellure.
897. The survivalist is a cult leader and a follower in one.
898. Yeasty flows of milk flow in riverine rivulets.
899. The elephants roam north, looking for water. Or for milk?
900. Any human who remains in the city will be messily mauled. This thought has not escaped you.
901. Some kind of spectral energy passes from her body to yours.
902. You trot in reverse down the street.
903. A mountain lion gazes at a flock of flamingos with a not unravenous lust.
904. Hissing at the lion, the hyena steps backward indignantly.
905. Prong-clawed cheetahs are on the move, slithering silently through space.
906. Look: A caracal is closing its jaws around a watermelon.
907. The lynx slowly stalks the pigeon, stretching its long legs forward.
908. Cougars saunter past the powerless humans with indifference.
909. Cats are stretching themselves out on the conveyer belts, tawny and brownish-orange felines, meowing and mewing.
910. Triangle-jawed, pallid-skinned, with slicked-back tentacular black hair, the emo stands there frozen.
911. Ears flattened against her skull, the panther skulks.
912. The humans creep as if they were cats stalking through the grass.
913. The ocelots are defecating on the LaserWriter printers and the iPads.
914. The lion cub squeaks.
915. Recumbent tigers are feasting on the cuts of marbled meat, teething the flesh of some fallen beast, peering at you from the bend in the road. Tigers with stiletto incisors.
916. The lion releases a short grunt and carries on its work.
917. The lion seizes the door with its jaws, battering the car with its mass. Now it loses interest and ambles away indifferently toward the Walgreens.
918. Now, you approach a jewelry store. In the jewelry store, the tigers stalk. Their saber-like canine teeth puncturing and perforating, the tigers scratch open and bite open the glass cases.
919. The elephant noses open the door with its tusks, and a white tiger leaps inside, followed by a train of hopping kangaroos.
920. Pacing languidly back and forth, the leopards are watching you. They are watching you charily.
921. Dashing over the street is a pack of cougars.
922. The taxi is entangled in the rude plants.
923. A fence made of dried yellowish bamboo serves as a flimsy barrier against the animal invaders.
924. The tiger outshoots the elephant herd, running as if levitating above the ground.
925. You glance back at the roaring beast.
926. You glimpse a seething, angry cat.
927. She is no lilting flower, but rather a tigress with exorbitant eyes, eye-orbs that are red with blood.
928. Cringing in their automobile, a family of five peers at the growing spectacle of animality with hushed anguish.
929. You are puzzled by the incomprehensible behavior of the humans.
930. Poaching or hunting game is unthinkable when the human becomes the hunted.
931. Gawking at the Bengal tiger, the mob snaps its camera telephones.
932. With its orange coat and white underside, with its stripes like black lesions and black scars, the Bengal tiger slinks slyly away.
933. The tigers creep up to the reclining woman and lick her face.
934. The white tigress is of a surpassing beauty—she is surpassingly beautiful, agonizingly beautiful, indeed. The human beings wish they could be as surpassingly beautiful as the white tigress. She parades herself, projecting her beauty before the gaping human crowd.
935. All over the tables are Tasmanian devils—sprawling, vicious cats with vicious bites.
936. The cats are nipping the cupcakes.
937. Arching its feet as it walks, walking on its toes, the leopard is stalking the heron.
938. Panthers are there, panthers in gaze that will pounce upon the humans, spring upon them.
939. Crouchant mountain lions are staring at the croups of the horses as they pass. Bulbous croups, wagging croups.
940. You see a luscious lion, a lion with a luscious sleek coat of fur.
941. The handsome cougar—the handsome, fear-producing cougar—maneuvers through the aisles. The cougars, pumas, and mountain lions are the new residents of the city—the alligators, the lizards, the Komodo dragons. It is the human beings who are the invaders.
942. The tiger throws the man forty feet into the air.
943. Bearing its body forty feet into the trees, the tiger is chasing an antelope.
944. Treed pumas are gazing at you.
945. Gripping your coat, you stride toward the exit.
946. The leopard steals through the foliage, black-ringed and black-spotted. It is hunting its quarry. It springs on to its prey, taking it down.
947. She climbs down the tree—then jumps, landing on her feet.
948. A serval jumps in front of you.
949. On his knees, genuflecting before the tiger, his head scrapes the ground.
950. The tiger vanishes into the green screen.
951. A lion, with its plush mane, threads through the forest leafage. Caught in the catch of its jaws, the toucan squirms, screeches, and shrieks.
952. A tiger is climbing the back stairs of a bar and nuzzling its face against the screen door.
953. A genet bolts from its hiding place. The round-spotted genet is ghost-like, flitting by as if it were a windy flame.
954. A skimpy, scrawny cat lurks in the threshold of an alley.
955. You see her drifting through the art gallery, wearing a midnight business suit with a grey skirt, an ornamental silver brooch clutching her neck. Her blouse is creamily yellow.
956. The young girl seems bored by her mother’s chattering. She is looking at you meaningfully.
957. He knows that he is now far from the world of blenders and smoothie powder, far from the world of foaming juices and milky cream, far from the world of prerecorded oceanic pop and tautly wired smiles, far from the surveillance cameras and oceanic Day-Glo scapes, far from the harsh fluorescent lights with their interrogating glares.
958. Beneath the milk-fall, a sudden gush of milk overcoming them, their flesh-loaves shiver and then settle back into place.
959. As they journey between the jade-leaved peach trees, boozy moose and heraldic elephants follow them.
960. Perching on the window ledge is a turkey buzzard with a gristly pink gizzard head.
961. You see the brightening face of the young man as he unknots his tie.
962. She wears a stiff-colored white silk shirt with white cuffs, very lawyerly.
963. She is dumpy, but walks with the elegant precision of a skater.
964. Infant girl in pink sweater.
965. Carpeted by needle-like grasses, the boutique is blossoming into a geranium.
966. Cruciform trees.
967. Thorny branches are rising to the sky. Apples are blooming on the branches.
968. The ladder is canted against the wall.
969. The city is lush with emerald blooms.
970. Junked cars dawdle beneath the junked bridge. A junky trips, walks haltingly into the gloom beneath the bridge. Sad, sleepy bats loll from the bridge’s underside.
971. A refrigerator has become a bosky sea-cave.
972. The interlaced, pleached vines. Embosomed in the greenery. Uliginous milk-plants.
973. She is looking at the flowering flowers. You are at the intersection of Clark Street and Chestnut Street. There is a small forest in the middle of the intersection—a forest of four tall, slender, many-leafed trees. You walk into the small forest, the little grove of tall, slender, many-leafed trees. Cremasters are hooked on leaf-stems, tensing cremasters. Crenate leaves, look at the leaves. Wiggling leaves, wiggling in the wind.
974. Growing lachrymose, the woman moans out a threnody of complaints.
975. She is bald.
976. In the sepulchral darkness, ostrichy ostrich.
977. Thick vine-twists bar your way. Everywhere you look, flowers and vines are sprouting miraculously. Rocketed by the up-shooting trees, the city is becoming a violent garden.
978. Vermiculated vines overwhelm travelers through the vine-garlanded garden.
979. They shuffle toward the green mass.
980. Brushy-maned ponies, elegant Cleveland Bay horses, Clydesdales with wispily feathered legs, and silkily skinned Oldenburg horses are being mounted by the human riders.
981. The trees shake their heads wildly like drugged-up disco dancers. A wind tears through the tremulous deep dark grass. Rain is coming. A tempest is coming. Wild tempestuous winds are winding wildly. Brushy-maned ponies, elegant Cleveland Bay horses, Clydesdales with wispily feathered legs, and silkily skinned Oldenburg horses are being mounted by the human riders.
982. They seem bold—arrogant, even. Scything through the flaccid vines, you approach the clearing. Viscid leaves, leaves covered with a sticky white fluid, cover the balustrades that line the walkway.
983. You can smell the pungent musk of the animals. You sense the putrified reek of rotten fruit and vegetables. You hear and see the up-fluttering of birds.
984. Plagued by lilies, rhododendrons, and ferns.
985. A train of slinky sphinxes, slinky lynx, and slinky mink.
986. So many slick vixens and vixenish skunks and kinkajous.
987. A geography of exotic animals unfolds before you. The fronds of the ferns dance wildly.
988. The vines are growing over the food shelves. The packages, bags, and boxes are entangled in the vines. You sashay down the agglutinate path—a path glutted with milk-plasma.
989. The vegetation is assuming a thorny, thistly character. Spiderwebbing vines, crisscrossing vines, tangles of vines are meshing up the walls, unpierced by the sun. Green tendrils spread across the multi-furrowed street. The belt of vegetation has grown thicker, into a thistly thickness. Everywhere is erupting hemorrhaging rivers of milk.
990. Black roses stud the sward.
991. The immensity of the jungle, the ever-growing, ever-flourishing, ever-blossoming immensity of the jungle.
992. Screens of light sifting through the branches and the leaves above you.
993. You enter Clark Street, which is blossoming into a milky oasis. Milk is spreading across the aluminum ramparts.
994. Puddles of rancid curdled milk and whitish residue spill over the pipes while rats plash in the streams. Within a two-mile radius, the spreading widening puddle of oozy milkiness.
995. Many-feathered birch trees. Through the waving heather. The flickering tendrils of the green plants.
996. You watch the animal intently. Spewing from that milky orifice, the milk-geyser is forever spurting upward. It descends to form a pool—a pool that blossoms into a massive lake. Humans bathe in the milk-lather, touching the milk’s emollient touch. The milk, it seems—though the term “milk” is only used here for the purposes of convenience—has a caressive effect on the skin. Some humans speculate that the milk—this strange, deliquescent liquid—rejuvenates them. One way or another, the milk certainly has invigorated and reinvigorated every human being who has waded in its flood.
997. Amour-whipping midnight quakings.
998. Wild dogs, badgers, and voles swarm through the shrubbery.
999. Into the voluptuously green jungle they tread.
1,000. The supermarket is crackling with cackling fauna. Bustling with animals, it is like a sylvan paradise in Consumeria.
1,001. You palpate the leaves. They pulse with fresh vigor. Pushing through the tangle of vegetation, a graceful, gentle deer treads.
1,002. Proud, hieratic, the double-wattled cassowary wobbles through the forest foliage, its folds of magic purple skin dangling.
1,003. Crawling in the foliage are crackling vultures and cackling monkeys and cooing owls.
1,004. Like some primeval grassland, like an African savannah baking in the sun, the city is owned by the beasts.
1,005. An orgy of roses—white, red, black—have come out of the Earth. Everywhere flowers are springing out of the Earth. Warthogs and wildebeest are wallowing in the oasis. You push away the spurs of the vines and slink into the space.
1,006. The barbed-wire fence is permeated with sparkling green leaves.
1,007. Whisking their tufted tails, the boars wallow in the milk pool and chew on tobacco. Their ears stand up as you walk near them.
1,008. An elephant saunters into the foyer.
1,009. Effusing out of the hole and into the grassy banks is a gush of milk.
1,010. Shaking with jags of pleasure, the men and the women are writhing in the milk and petting the skin of the okapi and the zebra.
1,011. The humans are dissolving into the milk, basking in the milk, luxuriating in the silky milk.
1,012. Leaping up and down in the bright green grass, bizarre animals are dancing their dance.
1,013. The swaying palm fronds have an intelligence all of their own.
1,014. Emitting outlandish squawks, multi-colored exotic birds are feathering everywhere.
1,015. A tangle of thorny foliage twists around their feet as they walk.
1,016. A paradise of hippopotami is before you.
1,017. Asian musk shrews are foraging for annelids in the sushi.
1,018. Hedgehogs and moonrats are in the sushiary, sucking up the Tampa rolls.
1,019. Hedgehogs and platypuses paddle, wade, and float in the milk.
1,020. Looking closer, you see that the sushi emporium is slowly drowning in a bed of milk three feet high. The sushi will soon be submerged in the rising milk.
1,021. See the opening and closing of the gulls’ mandibles. They are cawing silently to the wind.
1,022. You see the crenellated silhouettes of vine-encrusted apartment buildings, feathered with ibises, egrets, and storks. A profusion of reptiles and plants erupts in the city square.
1,023. Scintillae of fluorescent light play on the surface of the spreading milk puddle.
1,024. The gulls take flight and sail into the clouds.
1,025. The fluorescent overhead lights are giving to their plumage an iridescent sheen. The ravens are not truly black, not a uniformly obsidian black, but a swirl of reds and greens and blues.
1,026. The cockatoos preen themselves with their beaks.
1,027. The cockatoos are pecking at the window.
1,028. You run your fingers along the mother-of-pearl linoleum walls as you walk.
1,029. The birds are warbling and burbling. Ectasiating birds are singing their shrill trilling song. (To ecstasiate = to go into ecstasy.) She quacks, the quacking termagant.
1,030. Amorevolous birds gather together on the branches, nestling and nuzzling one another. (Amorevolous = loving.) Shooting upward, up come bamboo culms with frothy, slightly arched heads.
1,031. Look: The flamingos are wandering across the green, surrounded by a halo of mist. A wildebeest is steering its way through the flock of flamingos. Now, both are immersed in the mist. You can see their shadowy half-forms. The flamingos seem unconcerned, as does the wildebeest. They are lost in the penumbra of wispy mist. Quacking insanely, the birds whistle downward, trilling their insane song.
1,032. The entire city is enveloped by the vegetation, by the ever-growing hootenanny of singing and dancing beasts.
1,033. The warbling birds are burbling, and the penguins squabbling volubly.
1,034. Swifts and seabirds—black-legged Kittiwake—nest on the shelf-like balconies of the tall white condominium building.
1,035. The party of humans penetrates the forest more deeply. You know that they will soon be entangled powerlessly in the contortion of branches, trunks, and roots.
1,036. The opossums are so many heraldic beasts, presaging the total transformation of the city into a jungle in which humanity is no longer the axis of existence.
1,037. You look up and see the vast-winged birds as they dart down aerial streets and aerial sidewalks. You are stalled by the sight of the birds. You resume your walk down the arterial street.
1,038. Cactuses are holding up their candelabra arms.
1,039. There is a hadada ibis. It shrieks its unmistakable cry: haa-haa-de-dah!
1,040. Through the tangle of leaves, you see a crazy cuckoo foraging for caterpillars.
1,041. The cat traipses into the scrub.
1,042. An ocelot lopes off and away into the jungle.
1,043. You wade through a wave of high grass.
1,044. There is the flank of a volcano to your left.
1,045. The wind intensifies, a brisk build-up, zephyrs traversing the windy field.
1,046. Indeed, Chicago now has moors: grassy expanses of land that are boggy and swampy with milk.
1,047. Sylvan creatures, beasts of the forest, funereally dark.
1,048. The bird gives a clear, heart-exhilarating call.
1,049. Lichened trees. Glistening with water droplets.
1,050. Entangled in the thick fat shrubbery, twirling vines, and vast uncontrollable trees.
1,051. You weave your way through the thickening stalks of green.
1,052. The newly blossomed orchids are rotating, growing larger and longer by the second, twirling and twirling in flowery whirls.
1,053. With sinuous movements, the black adders.
1,054. Blue-flowered, multi-tendrilled vines are spinning up through fissures in the pavement.
1,055. Lifting from the branches, crows squabble in an orgy of warbling and cackling.
1,056. Okapi are wandering through the mall concourse.
1,057. A nest of pelicans dangling on a branch.
1,058. As the milk bubbles up through the percolating ground, you see a sauntering gazelle. A Grant’s gazelle, with fluted horns like wooden flutes. Slowly sauntering, now it trots fast toward you.
1,059. Flecked with speckles and sprinkled with milk-mud.
1,060. The wheezy goat wheezes a sad song.
1,061. With spangles on its coat, the antelope canters out.
1,062. Shrews are tunneling through the flooring. Others forage the aisles for food.
1,063. The forest is abundant with wild pigs and wild dogs and is flowering with pineapple trees and flowing conifer trees.
1,064. The chocolatier has become an aviary, with flamingos and storks and swans and owls and hawks pecking at the chocolates and the creams.
1,065. Bison with brown matted fur stalk the underbrush.
1,066. They are gorging themselves on the milk that flows from the trunk.
1,067. Moraceous tree-boughs sway in the wind; tree-trunks are engulfed by mulberry bushes.
1,068. The pipes are canalizing the mucky milk.
1,069. Out of the alley files a flock of fluffy sheep and a tribe of furry gorillas.
1,070. The grove of rusticating trees is forever dripping.
1,071. Gelatinous ice.
1,072. Crippled with malaise, he doubles over.
1,073. Skeletonizing clouds wisp past.
1,074. You have no reason to smile, but a motor reflex pulls your lips upward during this act of self-presentation, a tropistic jerk.
1,075. As you walk backward, trying to avoid all of this spreading ever-greening, the creeping tropisms of all of this green fecundity.
1,076. The vines trail along the street like damascene markings, like green serifs, like curlicues of verdant life.
1,077. They ooze across the damp bed sheets, oozing toward the acorns and the walnuts.
1,078. The gazelle-like haunches and smooth coats of the streaming brown horses. The city is growing crepuscular.
1,079. Some strange bird is wandering endlessly along the milk pond, scratching the pavement with its long feet, clucking and braying: ka ra ka ka ra ka ka ra ra ra ka ka ka! It looks like a pheasant, but is plumper than a pheasant. It has glossy, sleek, dotted, and striped black feathers and a bright blue breast, which it thrusts out arrogantly.
1,080. He says: “I am not a campy happer.”
1,081. Upon emerging, you survey the landscape. Garlanded with green lacy vines, the bridge rattles.
1,082. The atrium of the hotel is bursting with pandas, flamingos, rabbit, wallabies, alligators, and condors—a bustling aviary and zoological garden.
1,083. You move through the parade of wolves, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, goats, and elephant calves, joining the march of the bouncing quadrupeds.
1,084. Delivering a defibrillating shock to the brain.
1,085. Lobsters, the scampering, scuttling, scurrying crustaceans.
1,086. A showing of the cetacean giants.
1,087. Joining in the feast are dozens of coyotes and hyenas, along with a retinue of voles and woodchucks.
1,088. Humpback whales and right-whale dolphins.
1,089. You look at the funny-looking echidna—with its funny long yellow nose and puffy, spongy body that looks like a furry puffball.
1,090. Draped in semi-translucent skin and with a sucking, infundibuliform mouth, the lamprey.
1,091. Gives a spectacular panoramic view of an efflorescing planet.
1,092. The siding of the building is made of ivory-hued plastic. She trails her fingers along the ivory-hued plastic siding.
1,093. Up-writhing shoots of green pierce the walkway.
1,094. Bleating sheep gnaw at thistles and grass.
1,095. They are slickened by the cascade of falling milk that waterfalls from the puckered holes. A building enwrapped in the red mouths of red flowers.
1,096. The whistling-warbling of a kiwi in the underbrush.
1,097. The birds have come, and the animals.
1,098. Ostrich, ostrich, ostrich.
1,099. They are astounded by the vegetative expansion, the pan-metropolitan expansion of the vegetative life.
1,100. The walls are boldly white, whiter than milk.
1,101. The vines are looping around the telephone wires, enwebbing them.
1,102. Down an avenue of orange trees. Greenish-orange oranges roll down the avenue, circling your feet.
1,103. Igloos of milk.
1,104. The spongy tactility of moss.
1,105. The window is refracting shards of light.
1,107. Creepers are covering the awning.
1,108. The viridescence of tree branches undulates above you.
1,109. Writhing fleshy tentacles of a fleshy octopus, fleshy cephalopod.
1,110. They are sinking fast into the gelid gelatin.
1,111. Two glazed globules staring out into a vast ocean of space.
1,112. Galapagos tortoises make their way, slow wanderers, to the lowlands.
1,113. Deliquescing into a pellucid liquid.
1,114. Pollen, drifting seed, new trees.
1,115. The enclosing spathes are green—the spadices are yellow. (Spadices are the fleshy club-like spikes protruding from the flowers.)
1,116. Folivorous lemurs are chewing up the leaves of the vines that spread across the café, the leaves that form walls of leafage, shivering growing walls of green. (Folivorous = “leaf-eating.”)
1,117. The piscine life is variegated. Minnows and tadpoles marshmallow and bloat. Their skin grows porous and spongy. Eels slither and swim sinuously through the warm eddies of white. Standing on a pier, fishermen angle for whitish trout. Half-devoured tomato carapaces bounce on the foamy surface of the river. Surveying this immense zoological garden, it seems safe to say that animals have overthrown their human masters. The clothing store is fast-transforming into a vineyard.
1,118. The city is now an arboreal reserve.
1,119. With their bright-orange dorsal fins and manes, these are oarfish—wondrous glistening oarfish, sea serpents of the deep.
1,120. The vines wave like serpents.
1,121. The vines are waving like serpents.
1,122. Hounds are setting on Caspian horses, delicate-seeming marshmallow horses, with powdery spongy white coats—the Caspians speed away; they have such a smooth, fluid gait.
1,123. The entire building is encircled by thorny branches and twigs.
1,124. Scrolls of smoke unspool over the steps of the cathedral. His red cloak is wettened by the deepening blood stain. This is an enchanted murder, and you are the enchanted murderer.
1,125. The gymnasium, the coffee shop, the appliance store, the restaurant, the supermarket are now botanical gardens and zoological gardens.
1,126. She says: “Obliques are a must.”
1,127. He says: “I do. I just kindly wish that you would leave me in peace.”
1,128. He says: “I can assure you most assuredly.”
1,129. He asks: “Is there something on your mind?”
1,130. Animals dominate this space, a topography of rhinoceroses, orangutans, and impala.
1,131. You watch all of this in fascination.
1,132. The sheep batten themselves on corn and oatmeal.
1,133. Trees bearing drupaceous fruit.
1,134. And as you wade through this miasma.
1,135. He favors her flavors, her chiffoned curls, the curls of the tigress.
1,136. He climbs back to shore.
1,137. And then they insinuate into the portal.
1,138. Everything is being swallowed by the jungle.
1,139. Everything welcomes its being-swallowed.
1,140. The intersections of the God-skin.
1,141. It is better for man, and for woman, to be alone.
Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia