From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Chemical Magic

The magician pulled kerchiefs from his sleeve, a huge pile of bright-colored silks, never-ending as they fell onto the floor around his shiny leather boots. He stared down at them and knew, no matter how long he kept pulling, that there could never be enough to cover his grief.


The Nightingale and the Rose

“Here at last is a true lover,” said the Nightingale. “Night after night have I sung of him, though I knew him not: night after night have I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. His hair is dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and his lips are red as the rose of his desire; but passion has made his face like pale ivory, and sorrow has set her seal upon his brow.”


The Adventures of Petal, the Paperdoll Pirate

The candle in the sky warmed their skin, making all too crisp their vellum bones. This was the Water Colored Tropics, far south from the harsh and acrylic snowlands that her Jotuns called home. Petal liked it here, this land of single hatch beaches and pop-up book natives in grass skirts.


The Men Burned All the Boats

The men burned all the boats, so it is impossible to leave the island now. Everyone cheered when the pyres were lit. The dancing went on for three days, as if for a wedding. The men chanted, We are fearless! Let our enemies attack us now. We will slaughter them, and take their boats as war prizes. And if the sea folk come against us, we will crush them, too. Our magic is so strong we will pursue those cold ones under the waves, torches blazing. We will burn out their black eyes, tear their silver flesh to strips, and lick up their pale blood. We are mighty. We are invincible.


Teaching a Pink Elephant to Ski

News Flash! Winter Resorts Now Adapted to Elephant Use

ENRP, Austria –Winter Resorts have caved in to public demand and adjusted amenities to allow for future elephantine visits.

Elephant Rights activist, Voldenst Truh says: “It’s about time. Winter resorts should recognize the great good elephants can bring to a dying industry.”



Ligeia! Ligeia! In studies of a nature more than all else adapted to deaden impressions of the outward world, it is by that sweet word alone—by Ligeia—that I bring before mine eyes in fancy the image of her who is no more.


The Gnomes Are Coast Guards

Nessa, my gnomes are coast guards. The lawn gnomes ride my flamingos down to the beach. In pointed red hats, they guard the procession of infant turtles, as they trickle to the ocean of melted sapphires. They block the seagulls’ sorties, and check the ghost crabs. Wayward turtle babies are rotated by degrees. Rerouted, they make beelines for the ocean. The gnomes’ cheeks flush with happiness for every turtle folded into the blue sheets, and coral-colored feathers bristle with a job well-done.


The Moon, a Roman Token

Heike was the most difficult case I’ve ever had, which is probably why I fell in love with her, though she would have claimed even that had been orchestrated by Kanz.



Shostakovich envies his bust of Beethoven. Alabaster-white like the snow in Leningrad before the university students piss on it. Deaf, dumb, blind . . . The bust shows only an image, a fragment of time. He wonders if Beethoven really looked like that at all. Image is everything.


Keepity Keep

It all begins and ends with a leather book, twenty-five significant pages asmudge with jellied thumb prints, wrinkly tear drops, and grasshopper blood. Childhood, if you will, pressed between paper . . .