A paean to Albert Murray and his hybrid memoir/literary criticism masterpiece of 1971, South to a Very Old Place.
“Think outside the box,” they say. What if your box is doing the thinking? Where does your thinking end and your box begin? How many boxes does it take to screw in a light bulb? The answer may surprise you.
From my very childhood, I’ve always been curious, interested, in a quest to find out what actually life is. What, in fact, is death? Where do we humans come from, and where do we go after death? Or, why we humans are on earth at all, and then die?
“The Second” was written for a speculative fiction writing workshop and very last-minute in its original form. I did the plotting and world-building on the fly, and basically the original idea was “what if the protagonist were trying to save their friend from a duel?”
There are moments when the world comes suddenly to a stop, when the ground withdraws its support, when a schism opens, into which one may or may not fall. The world then employs its archaic sleight-of-hand to remove whatever faith you may have placed in this event. The structure of projection has barely missed a beat, but the schism in your psyche has not actually been sealed…
What does Space mean to you? Do you have enough of it? Too little, too much? How do you make space… for Space? This piece was composed for an evening of Poetic Alchemy held in Boulder, Colorado, in the spring of 2019.