[Urchin assignment: riffing off of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, create your own. First, one of his, then my takes.]
From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein. They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown city; she was seen from behind, with long hair, and she was naked. They dreamed of pursuing her. As they twisted and turned, each of them lost her. After the dream, they set out in search of that city; they never found it, but they found one another; they decided to build a city like the one in the dream. In laying out the streets, each followed the course of his pursuit; at the spot where they had lost the fugitive's trail, they arranged spaces and walls differently from the dream, so she would be unable to escape again.
This was the city of Zobeide, where they settled, waiting for that scene to be repeated one night. None of them, asleep or awake, ever saw the woman again. The city's streets were streets where they went to work every day, with no link any more to the dreamed chase. Which, for that matter, had long been forgotten.
New men arrived from other lands, having had a dream like theirs, and in the city of Zobeide, they recognized something from the streets of the dream, and they changed the positions of arcades and stairways to resemble more closely the path of the pursued woman and so, at the spot where she had vanished, there would remain no avenue of escape.
The first to arrive could not understand what drew these people to Zobeide, this ugly city, this trap.
Acid rain feeds the acequias of doom, ribald trash in the streets, lovelorn occupants drained of life, of hope, of the difference between love and death. Thule was once filled with snow, white wizardry, blazing suns. Three moons on the horizon, blue moons, now shorn of light, exploding with pestilence.
On the edge of Thule, a fissure cracks the face of the end of ends. Time spins backward, a dream opens and widens down the street—the Avenue of Abandon, the lost north. Your traveler is spun, asking into night, called down the widening avenue, the morphing river.
The fissure bleeds its own pilgrimage—barefoot children sense the new landscape, the sway of ginger blossoms, an orchid-burst of swarming visions.
Time begs pardon: Thule relents. “Close the shades,” the children say, meaning eyes, meaning ghosts, meaning the rounding of future into night. The sun returns favors, grants boons, imperils flight.
In the west, the mountains tremble.
Mad scientists, pseudo-scientists, Croatians of the occult wander the streets of Lesat in wireless communication—polyphasic, metrognomes of disgrace, phylacteries of incremental space. Patron saints of Serbian poetry drowned in Mura, blinding flashes of light, synesthetes of the Miracle Age.
The first loudspeaker moved to France in 1882 in rotating magnetic fields, its last words, “You've arrived, Nidžo, my pride.” All the lions, including the last lions, follow.
The Edison Machine Works loom in the distance: “you don’t understand our American tumor.” Braking radiation as hurtful actions on the skin. Trees wind through fields of thermionic emissions, the winds of change argue into the night.
Brittle trees, brittle espionage, brittle leaves line the avenues of pain. Rain sweeps through on its mission to quarry, pedestrians block the floods of limestone reliquaries, aviators cry foul in the mist. Stregans invent cities in their sleep, architectural splendor in invisible pink; awake, they destroy all beyond the apple lines of demarcation. Fruit was banished before the Crystal Wars, never to return. Potato mausoleums, refuse strewn, miracles of light, gondolas of ash. Strega masterminds the underworld.
Walk beyond the boundaries, asphalt boundaries of the heart. NEEÖS is on the sly, she mingles in the foothills—molten, livid, astral. No garden gates, no last call, no timeless Aprils. NEEÖS is the apple of the eye, she quizzes the body of its derivations, anticipating slaughter in the last trumpet’s cry. Embolden yourself is the battle cry. Wheat fields storm the city, narwhals storm the harbor. Streets lined with black syllables: tombs line the blackest of hearts. Tsunamis of marble at the city’s center: NEEÖS’s memory is pinballed into oblivion, aching into the venomous aquifers that plague her nacreous soul.
Black tree on the horizon, splits the heart of the red sun—venereal disarray, archive of the western mind, remembrance of the lunar cyst.
“Fill your palm with sand: grind its worth into the lines of derivation.”
“Shake it off. Wash your hands of it.”
“The one sparkling beneath your ring. There.”
“The very one. Give it to me.”
“Open your bottom eyelid: set it adrift.”
“I see pearls.”
“Pearls that speak. They’re speaking into my eye.”
“A man is singing. He’s crossing a burnished lake.”
“Watch. And listen.”
“He’s blackened by the fire in the lake. He raises his hands and lifts the head of the lake.”
“The head of the lake. It carries no mind.”
“It is all mind.”
“So he too says. He hands it to me. ‘Drink,’ he says.”
“Do as he says.”
“Yes. Your heart.”
“There are echoes down its caves.”
“Echoes down its caves.”
“Atlantis is rising. I feel it in my chest.”
“Terror sets in.”
“There is no terror.”
“Fabricate. There must be terror.”
“There is no terror, I tell you.”
“Fabricate. There must be—”
The blackened figure: In the palm of Atlantis / Myrios rings / Blue fills time’s errors / The hall of wings—
Vassals of the Orange Queen. Mistrals of the Orange Tide. Mad captors of the Orange Invention. Slaves to the Orange Visitation. Fields of Orange Humans. Territories of Orange Intention. A laundrywoman tends her Orange Streets, laundress to the Orange Lateens. Missionaries of the Orange Equation. Prime Meridians of the Orange Primeval. Sledgehammers of the Orange Repression. The topography is orange. The toss-up is orange. The totality is orange. The Precession of the Equinoxes is orange. The Minacious Minarets are orange. Migration is from the Orange East. Herodias sings to her, heronry welcomes her, Herodotus chronicles her.
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