Three Minute Fiction: JOYOUS TRANSACTION

NPR Contest Image

We’re supposed to do this with yarrow stalks, but “coins,” he says, “are more indicative of global currency flow.”

I stand to leave. Scraping my chair back. He shakes his head and swirls his coffee: “more modern,” he says.

I sit down again. Take a sip of mine.

Given the swirling streams of capital – well, I get it; as a modern soothsayer coins aren’t a bad idea.

But I’m not asking about money.

He pushes aside his Straits Times, revealing an I-Ching and three U.S. quarters. He slides his coins to me. I shake and fling. Coins flash, fall across the table six times in succession. He tabulates my score: Heads-heads-tails. (Twice) Heads-tails-tails. (Once) Heads-heads-tails. (Twice again) Heads-tails-tails….

He points at the coins and beckons. I slide them over. He shakes his head. “First: my fee.” I slide that over too. He nods and turns the book around for me to see:

58. Tui, The Joyous

Lakes resting one on the other:
The image of the Joyous.
Thus the superior man joins with his friends
For discussion and practice.

The moment of discovery! My muscles flinch involuntarily: “That’s all?” I say, my voice a squeak.

“You understand why you do this now?”

He’s so wise, that crumpled grey suit, those yellowing plastic frames. Enlightenment is bearing down on us: I feel it. I squish my palms together, and choose my reply very, very carefully. “For fun?”

“You don’t fully understand.”

“I don’t,” I say, pressing my palms harder. “Tell me! Please!”

He picks my coffee cup up and dumps it into his; brown liquid floods, soaking the paper: “that mindless moment of exchange,” he says, as it drips on my pants, and he gets up and leaves.

Still Goddamn Cold Out

Maine Coon the Hunter by Maunz

Snarfing pizza bones, nursing my sick Maine Coon who is less wooly and of more pleasant disposition than the above specimen. Even when he has a thermometer crammed inside one of his most sensitive spots. And he had to have his nailed trimmed which means he can’t hold his own against the other two. I’ll add a couple of short prose forms exercises when I have a moment.

The Q&A: Sasha Grey, Performer

As an X-certificate actress, Sasha Grey perfected a thrashing sensuality far more cathartic and psychologically fraught than her moaning, grunting contemporaries. Her smouldering looks and unapologetic public appearances snared millions of mostly male fans and turned the teen porn performer into a cult figure.

Prose Poem

From Wikipedia

BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT – Myrtle Ave.

Not every nexus needs glamour but where Myrtle and Wycoff Avenues meet there is – of a seedy sort. Where the M- and L-lines cross, where Ridgewood, Queens slopes down to meet Bushwick, Brooklyn, lies the densest concentration of beauty supply stores in New York City. Here, for the discerning consumer of polyvinyl wigs or discount hair dyes, is a bonanza of buying opportunity; but for the rank amateur choking on fragrant ketone contrails, these are a rare opportunity to spot postmodern potions shorn of marketing magic. Row after row, they reduce to bare bottles stacked on stamped steel.

Reasonable prices diluted through volume. Cash accepted gladly. Cards keyed reluctantly in on a gooey pad, the line behind chitters and taps booted toes.

North. Transverse. Traverse, bags of swag rustle and crinkle. What had been predominantly white semaphore extends bluing, vanishing in a blurred dot of cars, people and buying opportunity. Primary colors appear. Discount department stores become big box banks; taco stands become Taco Bell; bodegas become 7-11s; Food Dimensions, A&P; arm-linked families of Puerto Ricans give way to jostling Italian teens who seem threatening until they clamber into cars, leased, but luxury marquees all the same.

A triangle square; benches for resting, inset, a World War I memorial hemmed in by fluttering flags (billings, not battle colors). Christmas lights coil around railings, cycles streak by, Teutonic surnames carved on columnar base, symbolic squad teeters on top, its perimeter observed by crenulated balconies; the gothic script stamped but fading on the apartment awnings below.

Then up, past Pizza Hut, and the porn store, to another transverse, Freshpond Road, marking the end of the BID, the beginning of Maspeth and a hypotenuse back to the beginning of Myrtle.

~JAMES MCGIRK (Group II)

WRITING PROGRAMME UPDATE

I didn’t write this, but it pertains to my article… [SETH ABRAMSON RESPONDS]

CAN YOU REALLY RANK WRITING PROGRAMMES?

From The Economist


Right now, in faculty rooms across the country, admissions officials are trying to winnow out the next batch of Masters of Fine Arts diploma candidates, America’s presumptive writing elite….

WHITNEY BIENNIAL: THE LIST

The Whitney Biennial is something of a coming-out party for mostly young and mostly unknown contemporary artists working in America. To announce the much-anticipated list of artists selected for this year’s show, which opens in New York on February 25th, the two curators, Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari, have supplemented the traditional press release with a short, weird film. Art wags are now scratching their heads, wondering what this could possibly mean….

My Muse

Amy

And of course, on the left, my (real life, very red) muse:

Thanks to Models.com and V Magazine for the images

Second Semester of MFA Begins

Feral City Geopolitics and Chronology

Indo-Pak Border dustplume

Port Lightning would have been an important pitstop along the Silk Road or an alternate sea route. During the immediate pre-history of Feral City, the Island would have been played a prominent role during the Iran-Iraq war and Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan. As the story progresses (1989-1999), the island would have been at least a refueling depot during the first gulf war. One possible partial model for Chiragh Pattan is Diego Garcia, an airbase and naval port owned by the United Kingdom, approximately 1000 miles south of Ceylon.

From looking at major island city states (Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Monaco etc), almost all are just off the coast of a conjunction between two or more big cities. In this vein, Port Lightning might be a few miles off the coast of Karachi – a major Pakistani city with approximately 12mm people.

Arvind Adiga’s Between the Assassinations has its shortcomings, I think there’s something disingenuous about the way he portrays the subaltern – where’s the horror? – and he isn’t much of a prose poet, plus he’s mindlessly anti-BJP, but he does have a nicely articulated chronology of a made-up Indian resort town between 1987 and 1991 (i.e. between the assassinations of the Gandhis). Takeaways: foreign remittances, city corporations, and the proliferation of satellite television.

Here’s mine (very much a work in progress):

CHRONOLOGY

1989: Khomeini dies. Julian arrives in Port Lightning.
1990: Gulf War begins. (USS Vincennes might drop by – later when the city starts to erupt in violence I’d like to have a gunboat drop by like). Chapter 5 begins here. Julian is recalled from a school trip when the bombs begin falling.
1991: Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in India.
1992: End of British rule, beginning of self determination. Treaty ends, colony reverts to local rule.
1993: WTC bombing.
1994:
1995:
1996: Kabul captured by Taliban. US Special Forces probably begin interdiction.
1997:
1998: Iran masses 250,000 troops on Afghan border.
1999: