tangible illusions 01032018

(Photograph by Jerry Uelsmann)

The Event

below the surface

filthy in every which way rendezvous

at ground level

the hangover cure cafes

not so hidden, hidden brothel retreats

divinely cut-loose ever so purple showgirls

all-inclusive sexual indulgence

the wizardry of New Orleans jazz migrated

potent blinding nectarous spirits

voluptuous fly-by-nights

a stained mattress for spare change

the feckless drag of syphilis and gonorrhoea


purest decadent heaven

for the young scribblers

the budding philosophers

the pubescent painters

the theatrical muses

sweet dreamers one and all

Yet what is this she hears? Tantalizing dreamers brought to their knees? Subjugated? The grapevine never lies. In the twinkling of an eye, the self-proclaimed Presidente La Sandmano and his menagerie of debauched (they would, of course claim otherwise) compatriots have seized control. The Land of Nod, a safe-haven no more for those gifted sleepers inclined toward the offbeat pleasures of scandalous scarlet rose petal and garter anarchy. ‘Operacio Kolibro’ has seen to that. An ugly uncreative old order of sleepers has been restored. Their quest for perceived categorization on pain of tainted death fulfils, at long last, their crusade for the return of tyrannical days of yore.  Darkest, ad nauseam calculable nightmares prevail.

Oh, what horrors the innocent permissive romantics suffer, for when the utopian decadence of own freewill, that ‘epoch noir’ spasm is supplanted by ‘régime sadique’ motivating all manner of humiliation by way of brutal force, therein one will discover the classic contradiction of society in the hands of the diehard fascists.

In the Aftermath

Under a neon glazed cellophane yet pearly mistiness, enveloping a street of no distinction they stand in line. All told, the hapless dreamers number six hundred, sixty and seven give or take the odd decaying corpse or petrified mannequin.  Those at the head of the line are able to see and take heed of the absurd sign on a locked, perchance once ornate door that reads, ‘Sweatshops R Freedom’.  A silverback mountain gorilla wearing a tallest, flat-crowned, broad-brimmed top hat, a torch in one hand, a magic marker in the other walks alongside the chain of adrift romantics checking birth certificates, seizing golden teeth and grandiose knickknacks. As is his want, he etches an ‘X’ upon the palms of those who appear to be youthful, desirable, able-bodied sorts and ostensibly ignores all others.  Ever since the revolution in The Land of Nod giving rise to the new age of nightmares it has been this way.  All the time La Sandmano and his despotic cronies hold sway, off-guard sweet dreamers are subject to a markedly abhorrent brand of ethnic cleansing. As to who might lead a counter insurgency, no one knows. That is often the way with dreamers. Presently, the only escape from, or to avoid completely, the reign of ineffable terror is to gain consciousness or become an insomniac.

Whether it be good fortune or bad luck to find oneself in the limelight, near the front of the buffer blocked train of dithering lost souls Eve could not rightly say as yet. The waiting in the street for what might happen next seems to take an age and the night is getting colder.

Immediately behind her is a person she all but knows, namely the waiter who wears only tattoos from Abdul’s Shashi café. A harmless man, he proves to be not the greatest conversationalist, having not spoken a single word for that long he has forgotten how to talk.  Besides, his teeth are chattering; his goose bumps are merging.  Directly ahead, the next person in the path toward the presently locked door, a raven-haired beauty with cloudless sky piercing blue eyes, who is fluent in both French and English, to the extent that when speaking she grapples with both tongues never quite sure which she should favour. Eve has determined the girl is named Maurelle and that the mountain gorilla has already pilfered the Tag Heuer Carrera wristwatch and diamond rings her grandmother had left her. She enquiries of Eve, “Qu’est-ce qu’il t’a volé? What did he steal from you?” Eve’s candid answer? “Zilch. I own nothing.” By the taken aback look on Maurelle’s face such a riposte had left her confounded. “Mais tu es éblouissant e. Vous avez certainement des amoureux de bijoux vous ont donné?” That Eve could claim just silver coloured slippers with pointy toes as the only gift a lover had ever given her, a thing she kept secret merely replying, “My lovers have never given me material gifts.”

At last, the perchance once ornate door creaks open outward. A portly ventriloquist dressed in pantomime dame drag, his dummy a clumsily crafted Pitbull owner’s penis extension equivalent, appears atop the steps to the entrance of ‘Sweatshops R Freedom’. At his side, twin dwarfs on roller-skates, both dressed as Benedictine monks, one in charge of an aluminium clipboard, the other dragging in his wake an empty hessian sack of monumental proportions.  The puppeteered dummy speaks with a broad Australian accent ushering inside only those whose palm is marked with an ‘X’, one at a time, making sure they leave all clothing with the dwarf in charge of the monumental sack. As to where those lacking an ‘X’ end up only rumours, hearsay and scribbled history books will one day tell. Eve overhears the ventriloquist, failing or choosing not to throw his voice, denying the naked waiter entry adding that he would not feel cold much longer.

She gulps a fearful gulp, seeking escape from tangible illusion and hoping to realize a retreat, back to the creature comforts of both her straight-jacket and padded cell. Sadly, for now at least her eyelids are pegged shut; her physique turned to stone.

‘Castaway’ by Zoolon who can be found on WordPress @ https://zoolonhub.com/


43 thoughts on “TANGIBLE ILLUSIONS

    1. The dreams of the mad fascinate. They have ever since I met with an old lady, bonkers beyond help, yet sweet and charming at the home my father ended up in. She lived for her dreams.

      1. I have heard about the freeze over there and here in our NE and Midwest. It is 90 degrees here today. So hot. Summer is going to be a killer here.

      2. That’s just what I didn’t want to hear. I’d pay a king’s ransom if the termometer crept above zero. Snow tonight and freezing rain tomorrow. A real temp lurking at -11C as my numb fingers stab the keyboard. Dear wife won’t allow me out for fear the weather will be the death of me…shiver…groan…thud…!

      3. Smart woman, stay warm, stay safe, I don’t recall such nasty weather while living in Germany. More of a winter wonderland. It’s crazy, even here 90 degrees on March 2 is absurd. We had no winter to speak of.

      4. Does your cruely know no end…have a splendid time sunbathing by the way. My own best hope is to one day remove the layers of thermal vests and ‘special’ bamboo socks…a rather dull pattern to the socks…and recall the times when a cold beer was only cold if it had been in the fridge.

      5. omg, so funny, in a tortuous way, not making light of your dire situation. Mike, you are so funny, I laugh out loud…while weeping about your horrendous circumstances of course.

    1. Cheers, Ms S. One has to do something in this weather, hence a longer piece of insane musings. I imagine in your neck of the woods the snowmen are all the size of Goliath.

  1. Absolutely divine, Mike. The surreal nature of this piece is amazing. Your Land of Nod is much like a fevered dream, giving sense to the senseless. I hope you’re planning on expanding these efforts, perhaps a book?

    1. My thanks, Mia. Eve is a joy to write, although her lucid moments are more difficult than her dreams. Unless a wave of surreal thought arrives (soon) there is only so much, graphically or by way of narration I can do with a person forever restrained in a cell within an asylum. Her dreams are relatively easy, and yes, this is a stab at a book. By the way, I settled on this book re Francesca Woodman as it seems to cover the chronology of her short life. From what I’ve read on the net I have become angry with her parents. A 20-year-old, self-proclaimed masochist left to her own devices should have been allowed the freedom of her art, yet studiously watched/protected from the near afar. A heart-breaking, addictive real-life story. I’m so pleased you pointed her in my direction.

      1. You’re welcome, Mike. Fingers crossed the waves of surreal thought continue to roll in. The book looks marvelous, thank you for the link. I like that it includes some of her personal journals. There’s a wonderful documentary if you haven’t seen it, The Woodmans, made after Francesca’s death. It’s very enlightening, and the family dynamics are something else. I can only imagine how difficult it was growing up in an extremely competitive environment. Yes, I agree, why was everyone oblivious and absent? A real tragedy.

      2. From what I have read thus far it is as if Francesca was akin to Nico (of Velvet Underground fame) with a good pinch of Joan of Arc. I can barely wait for the book to arrive, although delivery is delayed because of the UK weather.

    1. Thank you. In the 1920’s right up until Hitler came to power jazz had become a favourite of the Bohemians/artists in Europe. It was an integral part of the scene.

    1. My thanks. The piano is composed/performed by my son, Zoolon. ‘Castaway’ is a piece from his latest album. I’ll let him know you enjoyed this. He’s on WP per the link.

  2. magically of the wall. In fact it gives a brilliant Dickensian feeling, with a whiff of odd fanged people or certainly of an undisclosed threat.. If is were a film I would watch it through dark glasses as I frighten easily 🙂

  3. I was just listening to some commentary on the Frank L. Baum and Oz as seen in books vs. films, and then I read this. I felt such an immersion into Eve’s world that I couldn’t quite grasp with the Oz movies. Eve’s world is nightmarishly lush, the kind that doesn’t take kindly to its residents leaving for daylight…

    1. ‘Nightmarishly lush’. What a truly wonderful description. That you awarded those words to Eve’s domain leaves me grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat. My thanks, Ms Lee.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.