Monday, August 3, 2015

Neck of the Woods

Giraffe by Alan

If it’s the nose that grows when a lie is told, what happens when a lie is not told? When it’s stored? When it could be told but instead it stays put. An urge in reserve. In the cellar an I could say but I’d rather not. An is anyone even asking.

Perhaps it’s the neck that grows then, so in love with the swallowing. Perhaps it grows to escape its circumstances, a natural evolution type of thing. Perhaps it’s in love with the sky. Another sky? The reason for the lie?

When the lie that could have been told is never told there is a breath of fresh air, but there is also a longing. Make it a lengthening. Because the lie was never told. Because the reason for the lie has never grown old. A fairy tale, almost. A tall tale. A bulging tall tale aching for release.

And in the conclusion, a sincere attempt to recast the purity of the introduction. And in the body of the tale essay, everything is what one might imagine it is. Minus the details, of course.

Still…the better to see you with, the better to eat you with, etc. There are so many wonderful things we can do with these extensions out in the wild.


Ways to See in the Dark by Sherisse

Ah, yes. The giraffe. You asked once about the animal and its extended neck and I never answered. I may have been asleep. I was not beside you. (Not ever.) What exactly is it that you wanted to know?

Of the sky, of the behind, of the underneath, of the texture of the invisible. What the closed eyes saw, to whom the meek voice was speaking.

What it said?

To itself. What it said to itself.

There is a place near the river that reminds the giraffe of…


I have never slept there. (Not ever with you.) From this spot one witnesses, if one is paying attention, the most gentle and the most violent gestures of the current, the turning on and off of east side apartment lights. With the spooned moon in view, the pastel bridge below and inside it. The nerve of endings: where the cars go.

Now, the terrestrial animal of your mouth, its hesitant urgency.

For what do you believe it hungers?

The teacups were all along too small, the hall too narrow a place to say farewell. The giraffe wants back the hand and the lip and the little distance. The critique, the lap.

What asks?

The circuitry of the body; its continued looking. Or the gentle curiosity of just being. The question performs as if an actor in a theater. It feigns loneliness, competes for attention.

Why come back to it at all?

To know what it is to be a thing in progress that paws itself into earth and puts off dying but does not fear it.

Surely there are things missed in the interim?

If so, here, you will speak to me of them.


Serengeti Wax Animals in Their Natural Habitat by Lyle

Did you know it takes a minute for saliva to trickle down a giraffe throat? No swallowed saliva, you understand. Just dripping saliva. This was not the tour I was expecting. We’d already gotten the rhino scatological leg over with. And the elephant scrotal exhibit. Not at all what I was expecting from the Serengeti Wax Animals in Their Natural Habitat tour. And how was this wax still so… Not melted? When it was my turn to ask my one question, that would be it. That or, Why does the female water buffalo have such a large — no! Melted wax. Definitely the non-melted wax. Still the life size statues did beg the questions. The guy next to me asked about the erogenous scales of the Nile crocodile. Sucker. No one would ask about the wax, that’s for sure. I had that one. But what about that water buffalo. I mean, look at that thing! Surely there’s an interesting explanation of that particular feature. Dammit, man. Focus. Wax. Certainly, the odd postures were something, all these animals toppled. None grazing like I had read about as a boy. Or was this the way it was? The water buffalo turned up on it’s back, legs splayed. Then it was my turn to ask my question.


The Kitsch Giraffe by Forrest

Nobody believed me. Nobody wanted to go home. All we had—all we had ever had, according to them—was the kitsch giraffe, and they loved it more than home. For several days, reduced to camping out in the station wagon, relying on the convenience store for meals and washing up, my wife and children hovered near its hooves, stood underneath its pre-molded torso of fiberglass, and pondered the mysteries of its empty head as I watched. To tell them the vessel was empty was pure folly. A trucker from Texas tried his luck, first with amazement, then profanity, but I could do nothing to prevent the spectacle. It had seized them with merely a sunbeam glinting off its yellow neck. Did they still want me, the father, to stay in the picture, or had I lost my place to the kitsch giraffe. They considered this carefully at first. My feelings were at stake: I did, after all, drive them to the kitsch giraffe. I deserved some adulation. They waited for instruction, however. Something filled with that much kitsch must have a message. My wife flagged down drivers to lay Spanish candles before it. My children began constructing messianic chants out of doggerel from Bazooka Joe comics they bought in the store. We would wait, they said. And when the police arrived, they set up a cordon to safely demarcate our area, later arresting me as I tried to ram our station wagon into one of the kitsch giraffe's leg. Let me save my family, I begged them, can't you see. Can't you. Yeah yeah, we see, buddy—you've got yourself a beautiful giraffe here. You should be really proud of yourself.