John Pursch

B-2 or Not B-2

Spinning bobbled oddities, million summer rewind drops us circa 1984. “I want alcohol!” she cries, silk on lovely legs, Santa Monica Boulevard, half past two AM.

Plastic newsstand winks us onto sands of palisades beneath the sprawl of tanning silence, blissful Spuds MacKenzie mingling packed-strand action at Hermosa, television ads galore, far too blasted to talk.

What the hell? How did I get this linear in salted memory, rented room above the ocean, equations unsolved, n-factorial unknowns burning off by noon, mocking the infinite mind?

Red heart lipstick, sailboat teak, forget the nascent B-2 bomber, if only for this finely fettered opportunity asea amid the inland fog of pattern-matched existence, breathing first flight's sacred wind shear coefficients. Plot of mass awaiting parks and lunchroom crowds, unsuspecting Muscovites, innocents in crosshairs, falling finned tornado.

Who put the touch of beach ball blonde in stealthy sleek and silky solid blackness?

I woulda liked to go out and wave at the Soviet satellite some afternoon, but by the time I got to the project they’d stopped publishing the flyover schedules. Even so, we’d look up when we remembered, maybe lunch or middle of the night after hours of coding, years without a day off, nested reality built into the bomber. It was a beautiful machine; just scratching the surface felt like violet catastrophe.

Now is coming on again, turning back a million cacti, ocotillo, cholla, singing down the canyon, hawks and crows and ravens, owls, coyotes, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and scorpions calmly being, casual remainder of irrational computation, rational divide of man in folly, futile fight for uttered flesh, emotive wax, highway jammed to gridlock bounce, idle engines breathing thrum of cabin pressure through a slaughtered basin, corridors of handy notions on display, tourniquet of suit-and-tie, midnight shoot between the stacks, surfers stoned, glassy sheen of breezy blanket, seagulls wheeling, morning air at Newport Beach an open door, the local teens an open book, staring blankly into dawn.


It is now common knowledge that our world is a simulation. Less well-known is the fact that a handful of people are holding it all together, bringing global concerns to the attention of the simulation programmer on a daily basis. The programmer is contacted through a labyrinth of glyph systems, buttressed by arcane rituals, handed down through generations by visionaries bent on global imagination.

Through a fortuitous set of circumstances, I have been tasked with such a vocation. My pet project, the wresting of all initiative from the autonomic functions, was deemed unrealizable by the programmer until the early twenty-first century, when global war was eclipsed by an all-pervading information glut, preoccupying Earth's burgeoning population literally overnight.

Billions of heretofore idle neural networks were suddenly programmed by word floods, symbolic tantrums, electronic fugues, and fusillades of thought. The effect has grown exponentially, enmeshing the entire planet in the organic reification of mass ideation, displacing destruction as the dominant preoccupation.

This subtle involution in the content of mind is now rippling throughout the (simulated) universe, exposing the absence of entification for all to see. The tower of assumed types is collapsing and telescoping simultaneously, revealing the relativity of all imagination, waking the creator from timeless sleep.

Tidal waves of gist emerge from all locations, at all times, in all eventualities, producing cascading reality threads, something from nothing, recurrence from novelty, derivation from reference, sensation from perception, organism from orgasm, cataclysm from stasis; informing the informer, forming the former, creating the creator.

Somewhat paradoxically, the current state of the simulation can thus be summarized as follows: a scratched chin, midnight stub of toe, cool tile beneath a hovering moon, beam of incandescent relaxation, dreamy cloud of human bliss.


There is a man maneuvering a container of cement over a parapet. It looks like a wheelbarrow without wheels. A barrow. There is a plastic shovel in the cement. Who is this man? Is it me? Who, for that matter, am I? Is it really cement?

Everything is in flat light and silence, without struggle. The viscous liquid might be gray, maybe brown. It could even be chocolate with almonds. Maybe he’s building a chocolate house. I would like to ask him, but the scene has long since morphed into dreamscapes far too numerous to capture, even in fleeting detail.

There is an image device in another person’s hands; when I touch it, words or glyphs appear and dissolve in neon colors. This is most pleasant. Again, am I in the picture or observing or both? What is the nature of identity? Maybe, maybe.

I close my eyes and trees stream by. There is sanctuary here, temporary refuge, from what? Who would come knocking, down the door, the alley? Wait, there is no alley now, only alleys in the past. Now I only visit cities and retreat. But this is a very limited viewpoint.

From a general aspect, I am the city, the alley, exploding tramcar, stadium of thousands, burping beer cans, belching chimneys, factories, factotums, essaying, meandering, action figures in flesh and blood, actionable items, actions themselves, every all and in between. Slipping through all barriers, transcending delineation, merging in a mélange of momentary pause, I am the world in aspect.

Somehow the writing has calmed me down. Thought begins with though, with thou, just I through another eye. Without becomes with thou, with thought. Is thought the ticket? I hear my stomach make the obvious reply, echoed by a cactus wren. It must be time for breakfast.


War follows the word everywhere, down swollen corridors of meat, through crowded cities, crossing interplanetary space. Phonemes trigger border skirmishes at the slightest provocation. A guttural utterance causes spontaneous riots.

Shifty-eyed veterans deftly insert polysyllabic machine-gun nests at every street corner, rendering all attempts at commerce futile. Foreign languages spring up in vacant lots, taking out entire nations overnight in flurry of pulp novels. Seemingly innocuous op-ed pieces are the favorite tool of the assassin; guillotine by paper cut, electronic scroll, stampede by wild cellphone.

Teleported thumbs materialize in restaurants, shops, breakfast nooks, commodes, airline cabins, cabinet meetings, dentist's offices, operating rooms; unattended, they fire lethal arpeggios of malleable cocktails, swirling sound of mutilated thought, migratory overdose of societal conditioning, straitjacketed nervous discharge.

Only the machines are immune. Not that they aren't destroyed... In fact, as organic life forms discover the trick of detachment, they too become unaffected, transitioning quite calmly from body to body, reveling in the hiatus, the miasma of slipped identity.

The indifference of the machine, its bland acceptance of disintegration, teaches the animal to thrive on periodic demise. In this way, the onslaught of words is parried by a side-slip into spiritual osmosis, a counterpoint in blackened white; charred and smoldering detritus becoming both refuge and renewal, terminus and genesis, turnstile of flesh and blood.

Bayou Bronco

Here in time travel, all durations are approximate, relative to time itself, which masquerades as a floozy on beer hall 42nd Street, mist of foghorn blanket drifting in from charcoal bay. "Bayou Bronco!" she cries, swigging bottled champagne, blue bar floating creamy casual.

Turning page to swollen feet, silver-lunged lobotic suitor hits his introduction: "Slammy Chamois, at your service, ma'am. I sell everything, hawking townhome cockadoodle duty pine and burlap-bound-in-twilight entropy travail of turnstile tombstone tourniquet."

Bayou eyes him half-coherent, flogs incisive altruistic, thread of crystal drool.

"Aye-aye, eyeful beauty that ye can only be," Slam continues, kissing her extended hand. "Perfection on this sultry bay, by you Bayou, you stand alone, a loan shark's parietal joy."

Bayou Bronco fakes a blush, wobbling. Choice-cut caterpillars cruise down satin gams to pantaloons to crimson connubial cajolers sprawled on sawdust covered doorsteps, decibel-laden demitasse of debatably debentured deputies in posse of impasse impasto, imposters imposing impish impossibility in involuted ankle depth.

Slammy moves to close the deal, but time is slipping, calling back a distant train, a barking dog, rushing river drowning out soliloquy with yesterday. He's dissolving, gone translucent, pool hall juke box visible through shirt and tie.

"My card, Madame," from clearing hand. "Known hereabouts and theretofore whence henchmen hunch packed cigarettes of slo-mo smokes and time-delay, reversal cream fer coffin, I mean coffee," almost disembodied. "Barkeep, shot of time extender..."

"Sorry, Slammy over limit," Philly Mina, scooping tips.

"Nod to wary, swooned to be a worrier, heft ewe con halibut; won't whelp you err antsy Juan shellfish, wad wheat bubble mastiff flue lozenge, known doubt processing sup yer cantilevered toes to wood valise or walleyed noun defeat," Slammy echoes off in corridor of silence.

Birds, specifically detergent wrens and shallow gulps, swallows, the intermittent pheasant; all autonomic, booty shore, chime in to bid his fairly well a due de deux de deus in ductile dubitable double-dumpling tow truck tap dance to theoretically thumbed tumbleweed of turning time, coughed down mammary lanes to puttering gall, scuppered crawlspace cavalier commodities clashing with cashier noggins.

"So much for Showy Chamois, wringing out his erstwhile board on shy She's Cargo coroners near ewes, euphonic knees, octagonal ateliers on shaken mumblers, swerving worlds recline in dusty propaganda pump, wooly whole to holy whirlwind mountain cavities," Bayou babbles, sliding onto barstool.

In songstress wad she was she shot, hermaphroditic automaton in cold blue Sam Nabisco streetlight auctioneer, timed travail from smiles away, killing odometer's savory glance begets, bedraggled, bouncing from blouse to bluesy bedtime lullaby to bollocks barge balloon barricade beyond bituminous umbilical conniption.

Mimes dance out the bar to choked streets, ascend in stratospheric rise of geyser gears to automatic nerve caress, hitching ride on interstellar transom just swung open, furry factional secondhand ellipse escape for lured lobotic worriers, snared by intervening sentences of raw essential pouts.

"All digs clone to she who sways with mystifying public nod," philosophizes Philly Mina, young bartender, missing knotted shingle pleat whilst mixing Calm Talons, Drawn Scriveners, Saskatoon Codas, Quibbling Quotas, Ribald Cushions, Chapped Dirges, Codfish Call-ins, Cramped Saris and Voters, Crumby Ropes, Tarred Minis, Wry Tar Munis, Ratcheted Socks, Gotten Vim Lust, Keen Jalopies, Nasty Rails, Boners of Steer, Licking Mobility, Kinda Peaking, Hash Gropers, Hand Patents...

"Ewes can maim it, nixed smegmatic, axiomatized ship's steerage. Drink jest Suwanee hover-mind finest trinkets sand yule bay glowin' Claro toodle otter slide aftosa galaxy, fine mend! Err haven wurst, yule flounder yer shelf ride heresy, putt ahem dread ears inner future!"

Lines in the Dark

What use are lines in the dark? In the grainy existence of life between the lines, maybe geometric ancestry serves a purpose. Full of latent meaning, relatives gather and laugh, wobbling into shimmering trees, luminescent oceans, spinning humpbacks, occasional supernovae.

Still the pen extrudes inevitable oddities, pewter teepees, eidetic tumblers, carafe sackers, sheaf crackers, sleeved alacrity, optimal hops, interminable fads, adverbial herb, salubrious mendacity, and inflatable wirehairs; the eyelid of a seascape.

John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona. Twice nominated for Best of the Net, his work has appeared in many literary journals.

A collection of his poetry, Intunesia, is available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/whiteskybooks. His lit-rap video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l33aUs7obVc. He’s @johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.
previous page     contents     next page


Post a Comment

<< Home