Mark Cunningham


They accused him of crimes consisting of no specified acts that left behind no physical evidence that happened years ago on dates not even the accusers remembered. The kind of light left on only when nobody’s home. i x i = -1. University Says It Can Account for Missing Brains. Though the road looked clear in both directions, he didn’t make his left turn: it’s what you don’t see that causes accidents.


Embarrassing isn’t dropping 20,000 tons of bombs on the wrong village: embarrassing is having something shoot out of your nose when you sneeze. You still get panty lines in zero gravity. His explanation of trauma was so complex none of us understood it, but no one wanted to ask him to repeat it. Just before the clock starting to strike midnight, she shouted, “There’s no tomorrow,” and that really messed with our heads, because we couldn’t tell which day she was talking about. I’m the mirror image of the mirror image, so everything’s all right again.


I don’t care if the ranger called it a “ghost forest”—the lump on my forehead proves those trees are real. Ten years of drought or not, we still had to hire somebody to design the sand traps. Ha, ha, arrested for carrying a gun on a military base, ha, ha, ha. Better to be realistic than real. When he said, “I think I’ve lost my mind,” we all relaxed: another false alarm. Total area considered, it was white as the ace of spaces.


She had to pick out the American Spirit cigarette butts before they were convinced the ashes were those of their ancestors. The clinic’s letter said there was a minimum of 10,000,000 gigabytes of information in the typical gram of human feces, so they now had proof I was a dumb shit. Our slogan “Come on and by common” was hated by everyone. A piece of chalk produces entropy; a chalkboard eraser produces entropy. “To defer perception is to engender a new meaning”: I have no idea what that means.

Author's Note: The term “sort” comes from John Locke’s “sorts of substances” with our understanding of each substance made of collections of ideas that are “supposed to flow from the particular internal constitution” of the substance (An Essay Concerning Human Understanding 2:23:2-3), and from FedEx’s “sort,” the twice daily receiving and routing of packages at airport hubs.

Otoliths has published two books by Mark Cunningham, 80 Beetles and Helicotremors. A chapbook titled "And Suddenly It's Evening" appeared on the Beard of Bees site about a year ago.
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