The Night Sound of Soul Mates Finding Each Other by Arlene Ang
Before Cosgrove came to live in the park, he was a novelist. He had written so many books that he couldn’t remember where he sent them. The publishers and agents never called him back and, after a while, he decided that phones were superfluous. For that matter, they never mailed him back his manuscripts—which only proved that the advantages of having a mailing address were overrated.
Ferguson, the dog, found him just when he was at his lowest. Recent regulations prohibited all forms of writing in the park. In anger, he had thrown his writing kit—made up of scalpels, a ballpen, green spray paint, some pencils—from the ornamental bridge and walked away. Ferguson, dressed as Santa Claus, fetched it back and ran after him. Cosgrove touched the saliva on the leather. He was at a loss for words for the first time in his life. He took it from Ferguson’s jaws and smiled.
Later, he unzipped his pants under the sign: Do Not Write on Bamboo. By his feet, Ferguson raised a leg in unison.
Scene by Forrest
Max, old boy--on the Fourth of July I'm walking you over to the bamboo forest park. I got kicked out of there last year for trying to finish carving a heart around a lover's initials on a stalk. And if someone catches you with the Santa hat on, no worries. She'll know either of us can't change with the change of scenery, but the other only has to hang around to make it seem less foolish.
Whole Stone by Bill
Live long in your growing green inches inching inch by inch towards the sky, signed, from one sexual tyrannosaurus to another. As I let go of the stone that was carrying me down toward the sea-bed a girl in white robes dove past me, and though I have already suffered for this I guess I'll come back up again out of the abyss and stand under the sky asking why it finds us free. Destiny on the wind, covered in oil, milleniums of decayed plankton torn up from their last resolve and spuming on the surface of our eyes, fettering the frills of our cap.
Feeling less Powerful by Alan
Victor Rasputin’s holiday commitments entailed a trip to his marginalized cousin’s two-story palace of sin on Lexington, extended conversations with his mother-in-law (who was, actually, a pretty “cool” woman by most standards), and several hours of godforsaken traffic between boroughs. What made matters worse was that he had recently decided to stop smoking cigarettes in his car. Irritable, beaten, and worn, he shut most of his windows without pressing “save,” blew off all new updates. As the year grew to a close, he changed his status like he changed his underwear, but the result was the same: no comments.
In the evenings when his partner fell asleep, he would lie awake on the sofa in the living room dreaming of options. He could smell them, trace their shapes, and discuss them with hoards of people (acquaintances whom Victor knew but kept at a distance) for hours on end. These musings would stimulate a certain sense of euphoria in him, hark back to a more glorious time when he felt stronger, more powerful. It was his faith in these stirrings – neither whimsical nor measured – that catapulted him through the day, a faith that ultimately was responsible for the only way Victor Rasputin was able to fall asleep in the days leading up to the most wonderful time of the year.
Dog Christmas by Johanna
Kibble. Kibble. Kibble. This hat is humiliating. I can't shake it. Stupid holiday. Bone. Bone. Bone. They think it's hilarious. They're flashing that light on me and laughing into it. Treat. Treat. Treat. I smell dominance and fear in this cactus atrium. The saguaro reeks of chihuahua. Play. Play. Play. This vest is itchy but worse is that thing on my head with the white pom pom on top, keeps screwing with my peripheral vision. Toy. Toy. Toy. It's tough enough being this close to the ground. Tree. Tree. Tree. Ah. Bamboo, my old friend, I've been looking everywhere for you. Leak. Leak. Leak. That's better. Go ahead laugh, but you didn't see that, did you? Wag. Wag. Wag.
Jolly Holidays by Beth
Yes, I would like to take you to a place with bamboo trees. It would have a boardwalk, too, with sand sifting into grooves on the tops of the screws that hold it together. We would walk on the boardwalk, holding hands (which we never do), and wearing flip flops (which we never wear), and sometimes I would feel my little toe slipping off the flip flop to touch the boardwalk, which would feel rough and gritty with the sand. I would be carefree about this, about my permeable skin touching a public place. About the possibility of cutting myself, or banging my toe on something. And you would not allow yourself to question your masculinity, just because you were wearing something on your foot that in some cultures and at some times has been called a thong. We would drift down the boardwalk, and maybe buy some ice cream, and I might even get a sugar cone, even though I’ve never liked sugar cones, just because I like the way the words sound when I say them to the teenage boy behind the counter. You would not get rum raisin, as always, and I would not get strawberry, as always, but instead we would get exotic flavors that I can barely imagine – ones that involve fresh mango or passion fruit. And yes, we would go there over Christmas, and although our families might miss us at the overheated family gatherings, they would understand that we are a family now, you and I, and if they had it all to do again they might just do it differently.
City Ordinance by Lyle
“Do not write on the dog.” City Ordinance 28.372c.
City Ordinance 28.372d. — “Do not write on other otherwise tethered objects including flora like trees or bamboo.”
A history of writing on bamboo (or otherwise tethered objects) has been inscribed in the margins of my copy of The City Ordinance (required reading for all City Employees). It begins at this Ordinance and continues, in the margins, through the tome (otherwise impossible to read). From the middle, somewhere:
Bamboo is lithe and supple. Reminds me of burgeoning youth. Though this is somewhat tautological, I heard it on an episode of NPR, I think. That bamboo is both lithe and supple, I mean, not burgeoning youth. They also said that it’s good for flooring because it’s renewable, but still kind of expensive and that it makes for tremendous torture devices — sliver under the fingernail. They still use it in places. Don’t know what the episode was about. Just bamboo, I guess. Very cost effective and
At this point the book has been torn in half — governmental Sharpie under close scrutiny. They haven’t replaced my copy yet, but they’ve left me the half up to that point. I was looking forward to getting to the history of writing on bamboo, as the notes had previously promised. So I have my own little revolt. My own writing on a dog. On bamboo. These photos. My voice. Writing = culture. I am not tethered. I hope they don’t trace it back to me though…