An History’s Appendix: An Index Of Things To Remember

What I wanted to do was publish the second of my three-part up-and-coming Children’s ‘Zine, TALES OF ADVENTURE ABOARD THE SEVENTH CHAMPION, which will consist of A Myth, An History, and A Folk Tale, but what I had to do while working on that was compile a glossary of terms, which I’ve published instead, because it’s fun. More on why I think this (that it’s fun) and The Demands of Fantastic History is coming shortly in a post on how weird it’s been writing these. But for now feast your eyes and brains on how confusing and bizarre the index form renders shit that supposedly happens in a simple sequence! Xoxo – Joshua

Note: this is a glossary of beings, things, places and events that take place in a Fantastic ~fictional~ World of Stories. I feel like I keep forgetting to tell people that.

Levi's Creatures

An History’s Appendix: An Index Of Things To Remember

After

The future, after Now.

Beginning Times, The

All the time that stretches from The (earliest) Time We Can’t Remember to The End of The Beginning Times, usually attributed to the end of The Last War. It is a general term, as both its beginning and end are hazy at best.

Bridges, The

The race born of the combination of The New Ones/ Offspring and The Next Ones (see: The Wedding). The Bridges left the last of The Old One’s great cities for a self-imposed exile sometime after The Wedding, only to return for a short period during the end of The Last War.

Everyone Else

In the context of The Last War, a term used to signifying anyone or group who weren’t The Krell.

First Ones, The

No one knows anything about The First Ones, except that they must have existed. They should not be assumed to be The Ones Who Came Before The Old Ones, as The Time We Can’t Remember is generally understood to stretch back much further into the past.

Fantastic Epic*, The

The written story of The Fox and her intrepid comrades as they ventured out beyond The Wall, and whose adventures ushered in The Remembering.

Fox, The

A young person— the first of The People to leave The Hand since The Long Time—  who visited The Grandmother in search of an answer to the question of whether or not the people had a history, and who eventually led her band of intrepid comrades far beyond The Wall on an adventure of epic proportions (see: The Fantastic Epic).  

Grandmother, The

The last elder, from whom An History was orally transcribed.

Hand, The

The place where The People lived during The Fox’s lifetime (see: Now), around The Small Water which opened out to The Big Water. Maps of the area strongly resemble a hand, hence the name.

The Krell

The second race to come from beyond the sky, aggressive invaders whose war on the inhabitants of The World** and The Moon precipitated The Long Time before Now.

Last Ones, The

Much like The First Ones, The Last Ones are mostly assumed to have existed, considering the vast expanse of The Long Time that belongs to The Time We Can’t Remember. Not only is that to say that there must’ve been others after The Old Ones and The Next Ones and The Offspring and The Bridges and The Krell, but that one-ness to which all The Ones prior to the ones which disappeared during The Long Time are either not actually the last ones, or The People of Now and After are not “ones,” but something else altogether.

Last War, The

Presumably caused by the invasion of the Krell, the actual causes, players and alliances remain unknown, though it does seem safe to assume that in the end every group— even and including The Plant Life—  became imbricated in a conflict that, for the most part, boils down to The Krell versus Everyone Else.

Long Time, The

The time roughly following The Last War, which lasted for years beyond count, second only to The Time Before The Beginning Times in terms of assumed duration.

New Ones, The: See: Offspring, The

Next Ones, The

The first Ones to come from beyond the sky, they were refugees from a far-away war. While The Old Ones and The Ones Who Stayed Behind welcomed them, their feeble bodies were unable to survive in The World until it was discovered that their physiological makeup curiously complemented that of The Ones Who Stayed Behind, while simultaneously curing The Problems that The Ones Who Stayed behind had begun experiencing after the exodus of The Ones Who Left The World following The Old War. The Wedding of The Ones Who Stayed Behind with The Next Ones eventuated the advent of The Bridges.

Now

An historical present, roughly centered around the lifetime of The Fox, when The People lived in The Hand, a great deal of time after The Long Time.

Offspring, The

The Ones initially created by The Old Ones, also called The New Ones, to help them maintain their world-city and lifestyle. Often referred to (especially by The Old Ones) as The Offspring, they eventually awakened to a sentience of their own and began reproducing and proliferating their own mode of being. It was their evolution that precipitated The Old War. They were eventually split into two groups: The Ones Who Left The World, who colonized The Moon** following the war; and The Ones Who Stayed Behind, who remained in The World.

Old Ones, The

The Ones whose civilization finally reached totality with their world-encompassing city, and whose era rivals The Long Time in terms of duration. The Old Ones created The New Ones, bore the brunt of the destruction during both The Old War and The Last War, reigned during the arrival of The Next Ones and The Krell, witnessed the exodus of The Ones Who Left The World, the advent of The Bridges and the arrival of The Plant Life, and the general descent into the last great Time We Can’t Remember known as The Long Time.

Old War, The

A global conflict that The Offspring called The War Of Becoming and The Old Ones called The War Of The Unruly Children.

Ones, The

A general umbrella term for a number of groups during or around the era of The Old Ones: The First Ones, The Ones Who Came Before, The New Ones, The Next Ones, The Ones Who Stayed Behind, The Ones Who Left The World and The Last Ones. Though never really referred to as such, other major groups— The Bridges, The Krell & The Plant Life— are all often grouped historically with these.

Ones Who Came Before, The

Not much is known about The Ones Who Came Before, except that that which they came before were The Old Ones.

People, The

By the era in which The Fox lived— an unspecified amount of time after The Long Time— the groups that lived in and around The Hand referred to themselves and others as The People, as opposed to The Ones.

Plant Life, The

Toward the end of The Last War, The Bridges returned to assist in the fight against The Krell. They brought with them The Plant Life— massive plant-like beings who are thought to have been something like The Bridges’ ‘Offspring’— to the fight. It was with the crucial help of The Bridges and The Plant Life and the return of The Ones Who Left The World that the war against The Krell was won.

Problems Of The Ones Who Stayed Behind

We are unsure why, but shortly following The Last War and the exodus of The Ones Who Left This World, The Ones Who Stayed Behind began experiencing problems. Some speculate that it was a some sort of epidemic, while others postulate that following The Last War The Ones Who Stayed Behind committed to changing their previous mode of reproduction, which is thought to to have granted them extremely long life, and taken on the mantle of something like mortality. Something about this change in their way of life may have caused an unseen side-effect which caused the widespread expiration of a great many of The World-bound Offspring. It wasn’t until the arrival of The Next Ones and the discovery of their oddly compatible constitutions, did they find something like a cure: though in order to continue existing they had to change forever, and very few of them remained in their old form. The ones who did were sometimes referred to as The Old New Ones Who Stayed Behind.

Remembering, The

Following the events of The Fantastic Epic, the arrangement of the world of The People who lived in The Hand changed drastically, an event referred to as The Remembering. Part of this change involved a renaissance of historical understanding, much of which was facilitated by The Grandmother and The Fox. These changes are documented in the heretofore unnamed and forthcoming Fantastic Sequel.

Time Before The Beginning Times, The

Nothing at all is known about The Time Before The Beginning Times, or whether or even it existed, or why there is an entry for it in this glossary.

Time We Can’t Remember, The

The Time We Can’t Remember is a kind of categorical type of time, periods in history that have occurred here and there that we know of, and probably here and there that we don’t know of, of which we know little to nothing about. The most commonly referenced Times We Can’t Remember are the Time Before The Beginning Times and The Long Time. Interestingly, the whole concept is fraught with contradiction: how can there be time before The Beginning Time— and if there were how would we remember it anyway?; And how can we know if a time is long, let alone anything, if it’s something We Can’t Remember? Also: what is the difference between what we can’t remember and what we don’t know?

Water, The Big

The water beyond the opening provided by the gap between The Finger** and The Thumb** in the region known as The Hand where The People lived during the lifetime of The Fox.

Water, The Small

The Water inside the opening provided for by the gap between The Finger and The Thumb in the region known as The Hand where The People lived during the lifetime of The Fox.

Wedding, The

We are unsure as to the specifics, or what it even means, or what actually happened, but it would seem that after their arrival The Next Ones suffered from health problems caused by their incompatibility with The World. Interestingly, the Ones Who Stayed Behind had, again for unknown reasons, been suffering from The Problems. Somehow, someone discovered that the two kinds of bodies complimented each other in a way that not only allowed them to survive and thrive, but to evolve into what came to be known as The Bridges. While it is understood that some of the Ones Who Stayed Behind refused The Wedding and were able to survive as Old New Ones, it is unsure if any of The Next Ones followed a similar route, let alone if any of them survived.

* Tentative Title

** No Entry

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Three Seva Stories: The Spider Truck, Sprinkle’s Bus Stop & The Magic Poop Baby

seva walgreens unicorn

One: The Spider Truck

There is an old truck parked in the driveway at Jimmy’s. It belongs to Max, the guy on the block who involves himself in everybody’s business. The truck has a lumber rack, and on that rack rest two massive wooden beams that Jimmy says Max is going to use for some project sometime. A black cat that Jimmy swears does not belong to the neighbor often sleeps on those beams, almost completely camouflaged as it curls up against the dark lumber. Inside the cab of the truck it is filled with spider webs.

We learned this because one day Seva wanted to look inside. I told them it was probably filled with spider webs, as a good portion of the outside was coated with them as well. Still, they wanted to see, so I opened the door. They hung back, trepid at first, but eventually approached enough so they could see inside. Nets upon nets of webs of different densities and taughtnesses interlaced and overlapped each other.

“Watch this!” I said. Leaning forward I blew into the cab of the truck. We watched as a ripple worked its way through the three-dimensional stuff of old-growth spider homes. We stood in silence.

“You wanna get in?” I asked, half turning. Their eyes grew wide.

“No!”

“C’mon! It’ll be fun!” I moved to pick them up, feigning that I would throw them into the spider truck. They squealed and ran, I pursued.

“Dad. Seriously.”

“I know my baby. You know I would never do something like that to you.” I closed the door to the truck.

“Can we see in again?” they asked.

“Yes, but you’ll have to get in.”

They gave me the look. I opened the door.

“You know you can sleep in here tonight if you want.”

“What?! Why would I want to sleep in there!?”

“Would you spend the night in there for a million dollars?”

They thought about it. “No.”

“Dude I would. I’d do it for a thousand dollars.” I closed the door again. “You know what happens if you spend the night in the spider truck?”

“What?”

“Well, if you make it all the way to dawn— until the sun is up— when you wake up you’ll have grown two extra arms and two extra legs.”

“…”

“You’ll have eight appendages altogether, like a spider.”

“Nuh-uh.”

“Yeah,” I say emphatically, “you’ll be half-human, half-spider.”

“Daaaad.”

“You’ll be a Spuman.”

They thought about this for awhile, and eventually agreed. If we both did it, they decided, we’d be the king and queen of The Spumans, and we’d have to have special pants and shirts made to accomodate our extra arms and legs, but we’d be able to climb things really well. Also we’d have eight eyes, like a spider, but they’d be human eyes, just like ours now. The big question, though, was whether or not we’d be able to spin webs out of our butts.

Two: Sprinkle’s Bus Stop

On Fridays I pick up Seva from their school and we head straight to Jimmy’s. Since the closest bus stop requires a transfer, we take the next-best option, which takes us to the Rockridge BART Station, and we walk from there, stopping at the “Big Bodega” on the way for treats. They enjoy this walk, and lately it has afforded us the opportunity to check out the neighborhood’s Halloween decorations.

On this particular Friday we walked up to the Chevron so I could get cigarettes and they could get an extra treat. There was a food truck there between the gas station and the bus stop, where we had to sit for sometime before our bus finally showed. It wasn’t until we were all the way up on College that they realized that Sprinkles, their stuffed kitty, wasn’t with us anymore. Panic immediately set in, so I pulled the cord and we hopped off the bus. I called an Uber to take us straight back to the Chevron gas station.

Seva was particularly sad— understandably so— so we talked about it. I told them that there was a good chance that Sprinkles was still at the bus stop, but that there was also a good chance that she wasn’t. It hadn’t been long since we’d left, but there’s always the chance. Then we wrote a story together based on a question:

“What if,” I asked, “while we’re in the Uber, on our way back to the bus stop, we realize that we left your lunch box on the bus?”

And then when we got out of the Uber and ran over to the bus stop we realized, as the Uber was pulling away, that we left their backpack in the Uber?

We’d be sad, especially once we realized that Sprinkles wasn’t at the bus stop anymore (which turned out to be the case), and we’d hold each other as we re-waited for the next bus to go ahead and take us home.

But then, as the next bus approached, we realized that something different was driving it: looking closer, we realized that it was Sprinkles, attached somehow to the steering wheel, flying left and right in a semi-circle as the bus navigated rush hour traffic. We laughed at that. When the bus would pull up and the door would open, Sprinkles the bus driver would turn to us and say “Get in!” And she’d take us all the way to Jimmy’s.

Now that bus is Sprinkle’s bus and we’re always excited that maybe she’ll pick us up again when we catch it next time.

Three: The Magic Poop Baby

When Seva was potty training and moving to solid foods they suffered from some pretty severe constipation. Their poor little tummy would get hard as a rock and they’d suffer pretty badly every three days or so when the time came for their poop to move on. One week it became particularly troubling, so we bought a large container of prune juice and put them in a warm bath and rubbed their tummy while they drank, dutifully, their gross juice. Eventually and finally they pooped, right there in the bath, which I let them do, a poop that I can only describe as NFL regulation football size.

This was a story that Seva loved to hear, over and over again, as they got older. After repeatedly complying to their request one day, I decided to change it up a bit, to heighten the stakes, which I took to be an investment on their part in something like their own origin story.

You know, I told them, you’re not the original Seva, right? I could tell it didn’t compute— but I also knew that it was this sort of sublime impossibility that Seva looooved. I went on to explain: No, it’s true: you’re the magic poop baby.

That night when the original Seva finally passed their gargantuan poo, it was so big that I realized that it was actually a baby. A poop baby. I took care of the poop baby, and I loved it so much, and it was so nice, that we decided to keep it, and sell the old Seva. Eventually we painted it a color approximately halfway between their mother and I, and put some hair and painted eyes and lips and whatnot and named it Seva, and they became our child.

This was why, one day as we were walking to the Little Bodega and they decided that my new name was PeePaw, and demanded a new name for themself, I dubbed them M.P.B. Which they both loved and hated in the same way that they loved and hated the story: it was horrible that we might give away the “original” Seva (which somehow had to be at least part of them), but at the same time had consciously and specifically chosen this Seva, which was undoubtedly still very much them— even if they were comprised of poop— and we’d done so because we liked her so much.

Eventually one night I told them the full tale, that they also weren’t actually either the original Seva or The Magic Poop Baby, as The Magic Poop Baby turned out to be an exceptionally evil villain; that no, the truth was that Seva was, in fact, The Magic Poop Baby Slayer, who had one day showed up to save their mother and I from The Magic Poop Baby in the nick of time, and that we were so incredibly grateful to them for saving us.

On Liminalities: The Hope From Within The Fire

How many kinds of in-betweens are there? How many in-betweens are habitable? How many levels of habitability are available to us? Made available.

I live in the East Bay. On the 12, or the 6, the 18 and the 52 or the 51B. They’re all numbers and lines, not categories. You can be coming or going, you can not know which, and yet you’re still there, at the intersection of multiform liminalities.

There is a schedule, I suppose. It isn’t a myth— more of a “fuzzy set,” a for-the-most-part or a you-get-the-idea— a drift or a gist. The liminality of not knowing the nature of the whats you’re between is more malleable than the words we give things like the people, places, or things we mark as limits. There is only a suggestion of mathematics, or: mathematics can only suggest the pure concept with which to articulate our various and sundry in-betweenesses. In so doing it deflates the pure concept not as useful or concrete but as crystalline, economic, a tool. Tool-like at most, maybe.

Lines and numbers. Signifiers, one to carry us over the other, to assure us that we’re here, or will be, or were, wherever those those things were. Are?

“I’ll be there ASAP,” I say, because possibility was what rendered that thereness possible in the first place, though I didn’t really know it: possible is the only way I’m able to be anywhere.

But that doesn’t make possibility a misnomer or a redundancy (the truth is something like the opposite, really), just that existing is only articulable as a tautological feedback loop of sorts: boring, maybe; banal, often; “duh,” mostly.

But I am on fire with the having been there. Perhaps reality wasn’t prepared for the scourge of our memory, history for the way we touch it, the world for what we can do with sex, what we can hold deep in our bodies, share with other bodies. I’d like to think that our erotic engagement with it at the very least ruffles the feathers of the world, but in its deepest sense my erotic engagement with the world doesn’t give a fuck. It, too, is a feedback loop of sorts: feeding itself on itself, burning-growing. Take that, world.

It’s in this sense, I think, that care comes not from an investment in the world, isn’t rooted in the world, doesn’t depend on the world. No, it bursts forth from the mad anti-physics of a fire that feeds and grows on itself, deep in our bellies. Additionally, I think the more we help each other let it, the more our madness will fight the world: push on it, nibble on it, dance on it, bite and scratch it, more verbs and, eventually— this is the hope from within the fire— replace it.

FOUR POEMS

I’ve recently stumbled across four poems that were cut from the final version of COLORS MORE COLORS. You can read them below: a saucy true story about public sex and a lightning strike, a rumination on a bee at Codornices Creek, another rumination on Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee-level eschatology and mild depression I recorded one afternoon at People’s Park, and a eulogy on the mode and style of the poems in what was then my previous (/first) ‘zine, MY FIST IS A BOOK OF ETHICS. All of these are, of course and along with my collaboration with the inimitable Bonnie Cherry, available at both my Etsy store and via my Patreon. Be sure to keep your eyes open for next month’s IT’S HERE THAT I AM COMFORTABLE WITH MYSELF, HERE THAT I HAVE FRIENDS, in which I attempt to both sharpen and put to rest a mode of poetics I’ve been attempting to call the poetry of knuckles. More soon xo and all that.

May 20th, 2011

we ran into the library

soaked by rain, she

put me in her mouth

and then her self

we came and

lightning struck

the steam whistle,

its billowy contents

streaming

out into the storm,

when she noticed

that we’d fucked

next to Whitman

and Miller and

a student who

we didn’t know

was there

Degrees of Proximity Dictating Value

a small green bee

leaves behind no

orbits, nor follows

mindless, mindlessness

buzzes

Its shadow suggests a swarm

or the possibility of one

one of many

sound logic is anything but

knowing the way an animal

crouches before it pounces

or an insect floats or that

a plant grows imperceptibly

but that doesn’t mean we’re

blind, doesn’t mean god

doesn’t see us in order

to exist, doesn’t follow

mindless orbits

soundness of mind is like

the soundness of anything

else: it never actually has

it; is adjacent like smoke

causal like flowers facing

the sun, degrees of proximity

dictating value

there isn’t a mountain

for miles around and as

such it can’t be forced

to disclose itself, what

it can only suggest are

the possibilities made

such by its closeness

to the sun

perhaps granted by the

small trauma of the fact

that I have just killed

the small green bee

having swatted it once

and twice on its return,

sending it softly to the

ground into which I

smashed it with my

foot proclaiming

leave

me

alone

Whole & Entire

… and if the soil present

would itself be so kind

as to rise to the occasion

of swallowing the just and

the unjust so that it might

be known that in doing so

myth would be undone and

the world would fall apart

I would be grateful

grateful for the fistful

grateful for the grasp

and the grasping

grateful for the outness

of the sunlight

for that which I would

be unable to ever know

again would cover me

cover me whole

cover me entire

My Fist Was A Book Of Ethics

all that will have been

will be the case as well

if, that is, indeed, the case

so, you see, it must respond

in kind: by opening- we

are desperately in need of

the verb; to be, at least,

for a moment, the passive;

to have been opened unto

and so we needed the

verb of the question – the

activity that brought

about both the perfectly

present opening as well as

the state of openness

that shoots out an inability

to delineate the limits of

the verb to open, that forces

us to choose, to trace

a line of force from

emptying object to

emptying object until

what ends and begins

becomes a flow that

bleeds out its own

trajectory into every

nothingness

and so to regain,

to gather up our

useful singularity,

we must remember

the rhythm of

the litany along

which we travel

 

Now Available: The Book of Foxes

Three Excerpts:


“Before it was a dramatic liturgy it was a codex of fragments, a mysterious hodgepodge with a multiplicity of mysterious original sources. Only here instead of time ruthlessly and slowly having her way with words written on marble walls, we are the agents by which what does not get said is not read.”

my poem is the object of your body

with its divots and sluices, bulbous and tremblings

shoulders in high-relief against morning suns and freckles

I shoot my hot self into that which can be filled no further

am folded into myself into a blurred oblivion

only to re-materialize at three in the morning

when she thought that I’d died because I’d died

and been resurrected”

*

“with ravenous mouth

with wildest hyperbole

with hummingbird heart”

For more info on The Book of Foxes – and to buy it- check out my etsy store.