Word For/Word [ Issue 17: Summer, 2010 ] [ Previous ] [ Next ] [ Notes ]

Brennen Wysong

Yes, Noise, or No

Buy a wolf trap and a handkerchief. Purchase a wolf-proof door. You will construct tiny cityscapes with bird bones inside snow globes. You will fill the globes with a mixture of bits of tinsel and freshly ground pepper. The wolves will in fact be wolfram. The warmth will be war. The theater will be where the war will be waged. You, inchworm, will measure the marigolds. And then, it will happen just like this: You will cover your body in a dull dusting of wolfram, hoping someone will rub against you for warmth, hoping you will bring brief shadow to a darkened theater, where the marigolds have been ushered to their seats in the wings. The wings—and they are yours, of course, attached to your back after losing your hands—will be read by X-ray tubes using the wolfram. You will try to find tumult on the periodic table of elements. It will be between flue and oxen. The theater will have no stage. The devil will win by one. You will toss snow globes of Tehran into an angry sea. Oxen, yes.




The Wasps in Swarm or in Swans

Soundproof your lungs with sawdust and goose down. Pickpocket sleet from an overcoat fashioned out of agates and slipknots, then skip through a busy city square in pure panic, overturning apple carts as you go. An X-ray of your wings will reveal intricate wirework fashioned into a landscape where deer flee an orchard or pasture on fire. You will release the bees one by one, the wasps in swarm. You will hire a voice coach to teach you how to properly talk to the magpies outside the infirmary’s one window. Instead, she will instruct you on how to interpret words from the ghostly shape they leave when spoken against a mirror. Ocean, you will learn to read within the fog, lightning, storm, lighthouse. The people who have spoken these words, however, will already be busy digging a tunnel into disaster. The disaster will be made of dynamite and feathers, or dynamite, feathers and fears. The fears will be emanating in the shape of flowers and smoke from your throat, though no one will be able to see it, having already left for the day to watch a parade. You will make great teepees.