The Art of Throwing People Out Windows
by the Defenestrationists

 

Written in finest Grand English,
the language of Earth.

Dedicated to Dona Denizé,
for fanning the flames.

 

 

 

The Defenestrationists are:

A. L.
Paul-Newell Reaves
D. Glover
Anna Sproul
Anonymous
Robert E. Petras
Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
Michelle Matthees
Gale Acuff
Rhonda Eikamp

 

Meet the Defenestrationists at end of the work

 

copyright 2007, 2009, 2013, www.defenestrationism.net

 

 

 

A Lamppost Named Mark [2004-2012]
by Paul-Newell Reaves

PUBLISHING NOW

 

Little Red Light

by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
‘Little Red Light’ was originally published in Medulla Times  in May of 2012.

The sun’s gone behind the hills by now and tufts of amber-coloured clouds drift high in the deepening sky. It’s hot. Every living thing outside looks thirsty. Eddies of tiny insects swirl above patches of dirt and dead grass on the nature strip and the rhododendrons by the mailbox are wilting.
I pull into the carport and turn the engine off. The air in the car stales immediately.
Scott opens his door. ‘Thanks for driving Honey.’ He leans over and gives me a smack on the cheek. Tannins mingle with hot air.
‘No problems wine breath,’ I say, pecking him back.
‘You said you didn’t mind if I had a couple of glasses.’
‘Just teasing,’ I say. I manoeuvre my belly around the steering wheel.
His gait is slightly unsteady as we walk to the front door. Dry leaves crackle under our feet. He stands back as I find the right key.
‘Oh man,’ he says. ‘Is it ever going to rain?’
His arms encircle me. I smell his cologne. Feel the scrape of stubble against the back of my neck.
‘Stop it. I’m trying to open the door.’
He eases off slightly, pushes forward again. The lock turns. The door swings open with a groan of swollen wood. We both stumble in laughing.
He gives my boobs a squeeze then lets go.
‘I’ll go wash the dishes.’
‘Very funny,’ I say. I turn around and kiss him. This time properly. I can taste steak and chocolate. ‘I just wanted to say “Happy birthday” birthday boy.’
‘Thanks.’ He hugs me back. ‘Unfortunately you should call me birthday old man, not birthday boy.’
‘Don’t be silly. Thirty-eight isn’t old.’
‘Try telling that to a twenty-one year old.’ He draws me closer to him, his hand holding onto my bum. He kisses my forehead. I feel his breath in my hair.
We stand here in the darkened lounge room. The fridge hums. The clock ticks.
When I move to stroke him he’s stepped away. He turns on the lounge room lights and bends down and takes off his shoes.
‘Need a hand with yours?’ he asks.
‘Actually yes.’
I lean on his shoulder.
‘Ouch,’ he says. ‘They look sore.’
I scrunch my toes back and forth on the rug, enjoying the air between them. I look down at my feet, at the thick red indented lines that run across their tops.
‘For the rest of the pregnancy I think I’ll be sticking to ugg boots,’ I say.
‘I don’t blame you.’ He puts our shoes in the chest by the door and heads towards the stairs. ‘I’ll see you upstairs, OK Hon?’ he says.
‘OK.’
I stand here. Uncertain.
I go to the kitchen and pour myself some iced water.
I hear the creak of footsteps on the landing. Then the toilet bowl splashing. Moths batter on the kitchen windows’ glass. I rinse my cup and put it on the rack and turn off the main lights and go into the downstairs bathroom.
Once I’ve gotten rid of my too-tight clothes I comb my hair, brush my teeth and wash and dry my armpits. I stare at myself in the mirror. I lean in.
Ugh.
My foundation is caked. Powder has melded with perspiration to form a congealed goo in the centre of my chin. Around my eyes the eyeliner has run into the crevices and flecks of mascara stick to the bags.
I sigh. I wring out the cloth and place it over my face.
The water soothes my skin. I open my eyes. The world’s all white. I suck in a filtered humid lungful.
I take it off. I rinse and wipe, rinse and wipe, until instead of being caked with goo, my face just looks blotchy and red.
I make a twisted cone with a clean corner of the cloth and swirl it around in my navel.
I feel a kick.
‘Sorry bub, have I woken you.’
I look down at my belly. My stretch marks are becoming more prominent. Long, thin, irregular purpley lines. Not a lot I can do about them. Not a lot I can do about my new dark brown line either. The one which runs from my mons and up over the curve of my belly to where it peters out just beneath my breastbone.
My nipples and areolas are also changing. From the baby pink they’d always been to a deeper, darker brown. And my breasts are getting bigger too. I already feel uncomfortable with the extra weight.
Ugh! Gross!
I examine it in the mirror. My nose wrinkles.
Double Gross!
I hadn’t noticed it before. A short curly black hair growing just under the left nipple like a refugee pube.
I reach for the tweezers and pull it out. ‘Ouch!’
My nipples harden. I check carefully. There’s no others.
I rub Biodynamic Beauty Lotion into my face and then Supple Skin Soothing Gel over my legs and belly. I finish off with Revitalising Almond Hand Cream and add a dab of Poison to my neck.
I leave the bathroom and go into the walk-in robe of the spare bedroom where I store my clothes.
I choose a pair of black satin lacy panties. They’re way too small.
I settle for a peach-coloured slip that still just fits.
As I go up the stairs I wonder if Scott’s already asleep.
He isn’t. He’s sitting up reading.
‘Boy it’s hot in here.’
He glances at me. ‘You can put the fan on if you want to.’
‘I think I will.’
I walk to the corner of the room. Bend over. Take my time to switch it on.
I straighten up and turn around. He’s not watching. Cool air blows on the back of my legs.
I go around to my side of the bed and get in. I curl up next to Scott and rest my head against his arm.
‘You don’t want the doona on, do you?’ I say.
‘Mmm?’
‘I said you don’t want the doona on, do you?’
‘No. I guess not.’
I kick at it until it lies crumpled at our feet. I curl up closer. The fan hums on and on. Every fifteen seconds or so there’s a faint thunk as it reaches the end of its rotation and turns back the other way.
‘What are you reading?’
He tilts the cover at me, eyes still on the page.
‘What’s it about?’
‘Mmm?’
‘I said what’s your book about?’
‘It’s a medieval whodunit where a monk solves some murders.’
‘Really?’
‘Well at least I presume he does. Aren’t you going to read?’
‘Maybe in a bit.’
I start to play with the course hairs on his thigh.
‘Stop that!’ He jiggles his leg. ‘It’s ticklish.’
‘Sorry.’
I look at the cars on his boxer shorts. I look at the framed poster of Prague on the wall. I look out the bedroom door. Down the hallway in the lounge room I can see the little red light on the TV glowing.
I swing my leg over and press my groin against his knee.
His eyes widen. He looks at me.
‘You’re not wearing undies.’
‘No shit Sherlock.’ I go to kiss him.
He kisses me back but I don’t feel any movement beneath the cars.
He breaks off the kiss, inserts his bookmark into his book and puts it down next to the lamp. ‘We should get some sleep,’ he says.
I touch his nipple. He flinches.
‘Don’t you want some dessert?’ I say.
‘That’s really sweet of you Honey,’ he says. ‘But we don’t have to just because it’s my birthday.’
‘Maybe I want to,’ I say.
He hugs me and scoots down so his head’s resting on the pillow. ‘Thanks Bunny,’ he says. ‘But it’s nearly eleven. I’ll be Dr Zombie at work tomorrow if I don’t get some sleep.’
‘OK.’
‘Plus it’s really hot.’
‘It is.’
‘And our stomachs are nearly bursting. Or at least mine is.’
‘Mine too.’
He stretches for the lamp switch. He stops.
‘You’re OK with that aren’t you Honey?’
‘Of course I am.’
He pecks my forehead.
‘Love you.’
‘Love you too.’
The light goes off. The mattress moves as Scott settles.
I lie in the dark on my back. The lines of the clock radio cast a faint green tinge in the room. I hear the whine of a mosquito trying to get in through the screen.
‘What! The! Fuck!’ I yell. I switch the lamp on. I stand up out of bed and point at him.
‘What?’ He rubs his eyes and squints up at me.
‘You think I’m repulsive, don’t you?’
‘What?’ he says again. He sits up against the bedhead. ‘Bunny! What are you talking about?’
‘You think I’m fat and ugly!’ I scream.
‘Bunny. The neighbours —̓
‘Don’t you?’
‘No I don’t.’
‘I come to bed willing to make love with you and all you do is ignore me.’
‘I didn’t ignore —̓
‘Fat and ugly!’ I stomp my feet.
‘Hon —̓
‘Fat! Fat! Fatty, fat, FAT!’
‘Honey. Stop it. Seriously. You’re skinny and you’re beautiful.’
‘Well why don’t you want to fuck me then?’
‘I’m tired and I had a bit too much to drink. That’s all.’
‘We haven’t made love for ages. Not since …’ I look at the lamp and count. ‘Not since before the nineteen-week ultrasound.’ I point at him with both index fingers. ‘That’s it, isn’t it. You won’t fuck me because I’m fat and ugly and I’m getting even bigger.’
‘Stop that! Now!’
He gets out on his side and starts to circle the bed.
I back away.
‘You were the one who started it anyway!’ I yell. ‘How dare you give me mixed signals.’
‘I didn’t Honey.’ He reaches for me. I twist. I’m against the wall. He rests his hands on my shoulders. ‘Now I don’t want to hear any more of this OK? You’re the sexiest pregnant woman I’ve ever known.’
I glare at his chest. I clench my fist and hit it.
‘Ughhh.’ He steps back.
‘You did.’
‘Did what?’
‘You did give me mixed signals.’ The lamp shade is hot against my side. ‘When we got home you were rubbing your dick against my bum and now you can’t even get it up.’
‘Bunny, it’s not like that.’ He glances at the window. ‘Just because I get an erection doesn’t mean we always have to make love.’
I go to slap him. He catches my wrist. I begin to cry. He cuddles me.
After a while he switches off the lamp and we lie back down on the bed. Front to front, face to face, forehead against forehead.
He massages my neck, my shoulders, my back. Our breaths mingle in a warm eddy between us. We kiss again. Properly.
I feel the cars start to move. I hook a thumb around his waistband and pull downwards. He starts tugging my slip up. We get tangled. We laugh and sit up in the dark and sort ourselves out.
The boxers and slip hit the floor with a faint whoomph.
I move my circled hand up and down. He pushes me back on the bed. He nips my neck.
‘Hello boobies.’
His mouth settles on my breasts.
He tiny kisses his way slowly downwards. I let my thighs fall apart. As his tongue runs around my navel I think of the curly hair, the tweezers, the fact I haven’t showered.
‘Ow, ow, ow! Let go of my ears.’
I don’t until he’s back at my level.
‘C’mon,’ I say. ‘Let’s wrestle.’
He supports himself on one elbow and looks down at me.
‘What’s the matter?’ I say. ‘Are you worried that I’ll fall pregnant?’
‘Very funny,’ he says. ‘I’m worried that I’ll squash you.’
‘Don’t be silly.’
‘I’m not.’
‘Yes you are,’ I say. ‘I’d offer to get on top but I don’t think my legs will hold out.’
He kisses me again. ‘We could just cuddle.’
‘Now you’re being stupid.’ I turn away from him, onto my side. ‘We’ve managed positions other than missionary in the past. I’m sure we can manage it again.’
He leans over. He tilts my head towards him. We kiss. He shifts upwards. We kiss some more. He moves. He’s kneeling at my shoulders now. Pushing pressure on my hair.
‘Ahhh … excuse me.’ I feel it touch my chin. ‘Stop it!’
He does. I can see the whites of his eyes.
‘I thought we were going to wrestle,’ I say.
He goes to kiss me. I turn away.
‘Well?’
‘I just thought …’
‘Thought what?’
‘Maybe I could have a blow job instead.’
‘Forget it,’ I say. ‘My jaw’s sore.’ I open and close my mouth. It clicks. ‘C’mon,’ I say, dropping my head back down on the pillow. ‘If you don’t take this chance now you’ll miss out.’
There’s silence. I feel him watching me. ‘Just a sec,’ he says. He gets out of bed.
He goes into the bathroom and closes the door and turns the fan on.
He’s in there for ages. I’m just about to go check on him when there’s a flush.
He comes out. Penis erect and glistening.
‘Did you put Vaseline on your dick?’ I ask.
He makes a non-committal grunt and gets back in beside me.
We start kissing again. His warm oily glans presses between my legs.
I roll to the side as much as my belly will let me and place my hands down on the mattress and brace myself.
He tries to stick it up my arse.
‘Stop it!’ I yell. I kick at his legs. ‘What’s the matter with you?’
‘It’s my birthday.’ There’s a slight whine to his voice.
‘So?’
‘You used to let me.’
‘That was years ago. Before we were married! We’re not going to start that up again.’
I roll away from him. ‘I’ve had enough,’ I say. ‘I want to go to sleep.’
I feel him shift closer. He starts to fondle my bum.
I slap his hand.
‘Go away.’
He doesn’t. I feel his breath on my neck. A drop of sweat lands on my cheek.
I reach behind me. I reach for his scrotum and squeeze.

Maureen coughs. ‘So what happened then?’ she asks me.
I look at her click clacky balls-on-wire gadget. I look at her copy of Clinical Psychology in the bookshelf. I look at the snow globe on the desk.
‘We fought some more,’ I say. ‘Then I made him sleep on the couch.’
‘How did he take that?’ she says.
‘He was really angry,’ I say. ‘In the morning he told me about John.’

 

 

 

THE PUSSIFICATION OF URIC THE DEFENESTRATOR
By Robert E. Petras

Eleven dudes in all, a biker’s dozen,
I sent soaring through windows, ports, sliding glass
doors, picture windows, even once
through stained glass, perfectly matching the dude’s
stained pants.  Windows open windows shut—
didn’t matter to me—
I’d frog march and launch those dudes,
dudes of all sizes, big bad dudes, hairy leather
denim tatted dudes,
even sent two candy dudes on a flying fuck.
That all changed when I met Vendetta.
She had me
head over heals with her, reminding me
of some punk I defenestrated from the second floor.
She showed me
a man could be man stopping his car
to ask directions, let me hold her purse
while she used the restroom,
had me buy her Tampons at the 24-7,
convinced me always to put the toilet
seat back down.
She made a real man of me, all right,
changed my evil ways, chucked them right out
our bay window,
defenestrated the Defenestrator.

 

 

 

Podil 7: Exchange Rate
by Michelle Matthees

The wingless bat of sleep deserted you. The corners
come inward,
white. Foreign words like compact mirrors

flash. You stand, a fresh green plant with your bags.
You are not prepared for the cold
and/or you are not prepared

for the heat. Bread and darkened meat
are for sale, no glass
between you, except for the magnification

of your exhaustion. Perfectly still
you stand while
a dead ensign plays a trumpet

under the train. Before you in the slick wax
of accumulated filth
a folded woman on cardboard sells a single match.

Even with a good exchange rate
you can’t afford that match. At the Poshtova Ploscha
the Czar begins his ablutions. You pick

the broken exit into tomorrow’s air.

 

 

 

 

Poor Pourtalès *

by A. L.    (24 October, 2004)

Poor Pourtalès, cradling in his hands the horrible news,
Holding back the tears, humanity’s dues,
Poor Pourtalès, feet aching at the gate,
And in the placid palace courtyard, forced again to wait.

Alone to hold the echo from what this note contains
Keeping silent as the stirring heaven rains,
Alone with the thoughts that pound in his heart,
As all his atria and ventricles begin to break apart.

And then comes Sazanov, to take the page away,
To fall into the abyss beneath what words in print now say,
Poor Pourtalès, off he goes, into the August eve,
And still, even now, cannot come close to conceive

Of the blood that comes to veil the frozen ground,
Of the missing generation that will never make a sound-
Save only for the battle cry they’ll bellow like the Huns,
And sons’ later pleas for God, sickened by the riptide of guns.

Poor Pourtalès, a specter wearing his worst nightmares
Drifts around him, and all his statesman cares
Crumble like shards of broken glass,
Poor Pourtalès, ‘till the night comes to pass,
By the music hall where the Concert’s last notes played,
Bawls uncontrollably, incomprehensibly dismayed.

*  Pourtalès was the German ambassador to Russia at the outbreak of World War I.  He delivered the declaration of war.

 

 

 

 

REVELATIONS 3:16
Because you are neither cool nor hot, I will vomit you out my mouth.
–Anonymous

It was a snowy night in Houston.  They were watching Speed II.  Suddenly, they were on the roof of the third story with the whippit machine.  One kid started pacing in a giant circle around the L shaped building–
“Stealing is so easy.  I know a kid—got fired from best buy.  So his last day on the job, he snags a roll of receipt tape, then drives from state to state renting storage spaces to fill with electronic tens of thousands of dollars.  The other day I looked next door to my vacationing neighbors house and a bunch of guappos were unloading televisions and stereos from the house to their truck.  But I just stored my open bottle of alcohol under the passenger seat of my car and went back inside—”
He stepped off the edge and fell a story before dropping the whippit.  Just then he hit the cable-TV cable, and like loony tunes or tweetie bird he caught a hold of it, swinging away from certain paralyzation.  His arm hit the ground first, then his face.  Then the fence hit him.  He got two plates in his face and one in his back—his arm works again, somehow. He earns a few hundred a week, now, playing video poker online.

 

 

 

 

The Defenestrationism Manifesto

I.
“The House without windows is hell; the foundation of Religion, Oh God, is to make windows.”
–Rumi

II.
“Everyone wants to understand art.  Why not try to understand the song of a bird.” –Picasso

 

I hate manifestos.  It is really two entirely separate occupations to create art and to try and understand it– and this usually is best done by two separate people: the artist and the critic.  Artists hate critics because they can be mean and insensitive and, uh, critical, but critics usually have interesting things to say.  Anyrate, manifestos sure are popular, and there is quite a long tradition of artists making them.  Plus, the Defenestrationism Manifesto is such a catchy title.  Titles really are my favorite part of writing.
So regardless of whether or not I know what I’m talking about, it cannot be denied that we have a new century to craft.  My most fundamental belief is that there is always something to be said.  And there is a great deal of evidence that artistic statements are possible.  So, what do we say?
To defenestrate is to throw a person out a window.  It happened historically in Prague.  It doesn’t matter what’s on the other side, what matters, in this instance, is the breaking.  Applied mathematics doesn’t have the equation for everything.  Maybe it never will.  But many of the smartest humans in the universe believe that advanced physicists are making true statements about the reality of our universe.  Chaos Theory, with it’s understanding of feedback loops, seems very believable to me.  Regardless, there is a lot we don’t understand in the universe.  But I believe we are breaking through.
So hopefully, as our movement grows, more artists will bring statements entirely different from the ones I will now suggest.  Personally, I think this new century is an opportunity to advance beyond Post-Modernism, to put Post-Modernism behind us as a fabulous and wholly worthwhile enterprise that happened between the end of World War II– specifically the revelation of Nazi atrocities, now fully documented– and the beginnings of the 21st century.  We have changed much since World War II.  Hell, we have changed much since the eighties.  Everyone knows that the internet and blogs and online shopping have changed the world drastically, but I don’t think the importance of simple email has been stressed enough.  It has been argued that the advancement in the speed of communication allowed by the telegraph had the power to start World War I.  Talk about a breakthrough– hyuk, hyuk, hyuk.  Puns get too much grief.  I mean, they say that it’s actually sarcasm that is the lowest form of wit, and that is the most wide-spread form of humor, today.  The lowest form of wit is incredibly popular, therefore, it clearly doesn’t matter the quality of the wit, wit is wit, and puns should get more respect.
But back to moving beyond Post-Modernism.  So, the Modernist notion is that the subjective self is the only knowable thing, with Post-Modernism, not even the self is knowable,  then Identity Politics happens, and there is no identity… which is only one way of interpreting that.
Ancient Greek literature began with oral epic poetry– as far as written history is concerned, I am a firm believer in centuries of pre-historic lost texts.  The Platonic universe and the era of the great religions began with oral teachings, lessons.  The Renaissance– I love that term– more or less began with Shams-i Tabrizi and his disciple Rumi and then Chaucer, both of whom were poets and travelers.  Enlightenment thinking began with Descartes, a philosopher.  The backlash, Romanticism, began with Poetry, but it was believed at the time to be ancient English myth, followed swiftly by Romantic novels.  Modernism began with Baudelaire, a poet, followed swiftly by Impressionist painting.  Post-Modernism begins with Borges, specifically his short stories, though I would argue Woodie Guthrie’s folk music is equally Post-Modern, at roughly the same time.
I date the beginning of Post-Post-Modernism with Judith Butler’s book, Gender Trouble, which was a best seller in 1990– a book of Literary Theory, a best seller, that’s astonishing; critical theory sells even less than poetry.  This grows into Identity Politics.  Groups– like African-Americans, Queers, Disabled People, Madpersons– come together to establish their rights, then disband again into individuals.  So what becomes of Identity, if it is just an act; post-humanism happens.  I love that stuff, queer theory, gender theory, disability theory.  And it’s fundamentally about subjectivity versus objectivity.  And what it says is this, that woman, black, eastern, gay, disabled-body, madperson, these are mysterious, objective others to the normative, white-male, western heterosexual who’s good at sports; others that cannot be understood– yes, that’s what DeBeauvior says.  But she changes the context, saying that these mysterious others are equally subjective selves, themselves, that cannot know the normative male.  We’re all the same, here, in our ignorance of each other, there is no otherness.  But even though the other is actually a self, this is still a major revelation about the nature of what we thought was an objective other.  WHOA!  We do know something about objectivity and the other, it’s not actually an other.  It is possible to know the objective.
So that’s kinda kinky, knowledge of the objective is thoroughly possible, a distinctly post-post-modern sentiment.  Shouldn’t the term for this new knowledge-filled era keep the post and drop the modern?  Hence, post-humanism.
So, the mainstays of post-humanism are rooted in Foucault and Althusar, basically that there is no human subject, that we are completely controlled by ideology and commercial interests and antique notions of beauty and constructions of Freudian desires.  I personally consider that complete bullshit– but, then again, I am a diagnosed raving lunatic on an extended tirade.  The Defenestrationism Manifesto is such an extremely catchy title.  First and foremost, how you gonna explain good poetry without the human subject.  No one can tell me our poems come from some commercial interest or that millennia of built up ideology control what we write.  These poems are clearly too original to be written without some notion of the human subject.  At anyrate, post-humanism either needs to be rethought or abandoned.  Hence Defenestrationism: We do not know what we are breaking toward, only what we are leaving behind.
Personally, I endorse Populism more than any other movement.  Poetry needs to go pop, like the contemporary novel already has.

–PNR signing off, thanks for tuning in sports-fans

 

 

 

 

Our Ghosts Read us Bedtime Stories

 

by Rhonda Eikamp

 

 

 

The Sane/Mad Continuum

 

Where you are, I am alive.
Jorge was captured first, hesitating at the top of the last staircase, and I saw him go, the knife across his throat a wine shadow, a blood smile to match the winner’s gloat of the totalitarian behind him who tossed his body aside and started down after me. Hope springs eternal, you would say, my god my only love, but hope sprang away then, in spurts from Jorge’s neck, across the landing, apple streams into the masonry, soaking the edges of the books on the bottom shelves. The totalitarian wiped his knife on his cowl as he came down the stairs after me, painting a red streak near his ear, and my heart grew to encompass me; to the tips of my fingers I was its beat, breasts and womb aching syncopation, trilling death, expanding to fill every book-lined hexagon in this honeycomb of our library universe. Run now, it gasped. My author, I couldn’t.
I clutched your book to me and it anchored me.
These are my theories that Jorge’s neck smiled for, that so many others have died for, heretical, intolerable to our government:
that there are worlds above and below and in all directions beyond the darknesses at the edge of our own hexagons, other peoples and cities if one could only cross that vast unknown, a place where the books are written;
that these unfailing sequences of letters stringing nonsense in unending rows of books on shelves in rooms and levels piled atop one another forever more are not the consequence of a universe made up of every possible combination of letters as our leaders believe, meaningless gibberish without author no no no the books speak – they mean and live and yearn to tell us things.
You are proof of that, these words you have written to me.
I stood waiting, ready to die for it.
And then Paul, lovely pale Paul, my last follower, whom I have held between my legs, leapt out from a niche to block the totalitarian, but too late, too slow, and I saw Paul’s throat grin red. Dying for me, and yet in the totalitarians’ belief an act without meaning, only one possibility out of many, a million universes in which other Pauls and Jorges choose not to save me, scenarios in which they hide or run away, in which they are the totalitarians. Infinities of worlds where the totalitarian’s robe is not covered in these red streaks or there is no robe or there is no totalitarian and we live in freedom. Where every option exists, there can be no meaning.
I chose to make their deaths mean.
I turned and ran down the hall, then through a room without making the book-obeisance and then down a staircase and another and it was as if I plunged into my own intestines, groped my way through my hexagonal heart that had stopped beating, until I knew the totalitarian was no longer behind me.
You must know this, you who wrote the book I clutch, that I am dead now, nowhere to run except the uninhabited dark that flows through infinite levels below.
I stopped beneath the last gourd lamp to read your words again. My discovery, the bible of the rebellion I began. Thumbed through letter-necklaces of nonsense to the one page, tattooed into my memory from the day I first discovered it, soiled now by my fingers that have caressed these words so often, the only coherent words ever found in any book the bridge between your eyes and mine. And further down as if an afterthought your disheveled hair.
And then into the dark, my blood throbbing, no days and nights, they were only constructs anyway. Each new staircase leading down, a dip into greater night. My fingers trail spines of books I cannot see. No light to seek more of your words, wherever you are.
Where you are, my author, I will be alive. I love you.
The dark is everywhere.
I love

 

Deconstructing

 

The text is a mirror with which we may view ourselves. The many ways in which we are embedded within a system of signs (= life) ensures that our own experience is the carrier of significance in our reading of any text, the contextual noumenon the only thing holding us back from the perfectly valid assumption that it was all written by a monkey with a keyboard. We understand a text by our axiological choices, which in turn allow us to order the text’s meaning along continua – mind/body, interior/exterior, sane/mad, love/hate – in accordance with the position we assume along those lines. I write words on a page and these words are the bridge between your eyes and mine. And yet are they? From what vantage point on the continuum do you the reader view the words? If there is no fixed focal point, there can be no absolute truth, no intrinsic meaning informing a particular text. Meaning becomes a moving target. The monkeys are banging away, our designata askew, authorial intent a crock.
The lover writes I love your throat, your disheveled hair in the morning, but the woman who reads his note sees only – what? – a stalker, a one-night stand gone bad, and rushes into the arms of another man.
Fuck this.
This is unpublishable. Fuck this cycle of madness that is academic life. Publish or lose tenure. Publish or die. Derrida my derriere. There is nothing outside the text. Nothing outside my office but the hallway, that short stretch to his office. C.’s over there banging away at her right now, probably got her bent over his desk, while I hold idiot conversations on paper with dead white men. “Are we animals, Uexküll, trapped inside our functional circle? Is there a message independent of us both, dear Jacques?” Couldn’t she feel her environment laced with significance when we lay beside each other, the barrier between signifier and signified severed by my cock sliding into her? How could a love note be so misconstrued? What does “moving too fast” mean if I love you in a million universes?
I want to move fast.
I want to break down all the doors, every wall in this desiccated turd of a college, shoot down the silence with a gun.
Are you over there? Did you know I fingered your skin like a reader caresses words on a page, soaking in the sandy pulse of your blood, the electric, the god/devil continuum in your eyes, your presence?
Are you there?

 

The inspector with a knife in the library

 

“Another faller, boss,” Kolpinski informed him.
McElroy crouched beside the junior officer examining the corpse, felt the pain in his knees. Like dice banging around in there. Snake-eyes you lose, age calling his number, though he wasn’t that old. Just bone-weary of it all. At least the body in front of Detective McElroy was a worse mess than he was. Head shattered to a purple pulp, the rest of the guy like a rag doll, most of the turquoise robe ripped away during the long fall down the shaft, probably by protruding objects: broken railings, flagpoles, dinosaur bones – hell, who knew what they got up to on the higher levels. McElroy used a handkerchief to tilt what was left of the corpse’s head and saw the crusted black slice along the throat.
“Wake up and smell your morning breath,” he told Kolpinski. “Mushhead here didn’t fall. He was thrown.” McElroy stood and stepped to the borough’s central shaft. “Someone getting rid of the evidence.” He gazed up into the hexagonal dark that yawned like a beast maw above and then peered down into the maelstrom of nothing below and as always it made him dizzy. Not good to contemplate the depths that exist both ways. A guy could lose his breakfast that way, which in McElroy’s case would be no loss – milky coffee and a filter-tip, thank you – but he pulled back before his stomach could make it reality.
“So murder,” Kolpinski mumbled.
No accelerating-at-9.81-m/s² shit, sherlock. McElroy was bored with all these corpses. The bounce factor, he called it. Bodies fell. If you hung around a shaft for an hour, you’d see at least two whistle past. Pure chance was going to throw one now and then against a balcony rail at just the right angle to land it on the level below. Splat. A college professor who’d helped McElroy on a case once had had a theory that if the levels were infinite, then the number of people tossed or offing themselves or just accidentally slipping must be infinite too, so that at some point further down every shaft must accrete into an unmoving bung of corpses. The detritus of death blocking itself up.
McElroy’d understood that. He knew from constipation.
“From how far up you think he come?” Kolpinski asked. From his crouch beside the corpse the junior officer gazed upward with his mouth open. He looked like a primitive from prehistoric times, told the shaft was a god.
McElroy shrugged. “Ever talk to Carson in pathology? He’s got this theory you can tell how far a body’s fallen. Something to do with the nitrogen in the blood.”
So it was boredom sucking the life from him. The city, laid out like a honeycomb, always the same, a logical labyrinth, nine million people – or six or eight, the census always vague on that – in their gray iterations, forever repeating their boring sins. Get that number of people together and you’d think he’d be able to find someone for himself. Her. The her. The woman of his dreams, an idea only, as non-existent as some stuffy professor’s theory. That’s what he needed. McElroy pulled a clementine from his pocket and began to peel it with a lino knife. Someone for everyone, they said, so why not for him. He felt her sometimes at night, when the beast’s maw was close, when he became its tongue, whipped about until he curled into a ball and screamed because the goddam bed was empty.
He was about to put a section in his mouth when Lopez ducked in from a side hall wearing a look.
“I’m busy,” McElroy said.
“Hate to take you away from your first love –” Lopez glanced at the body and rubbed his nose – “but patrol just picked up this nutjob wandering the trash hexes. Almost dead, had nothing but a book with her. Kept going on about some murder. Said she come down through the empty zone. Captain wants you to talk to her.”
McElroy put his knife away. He’d have to take a look at her.
So boring.

 

Falling from Grace

 

I tried to touch you once. This was when we were falling, you up and me down, or maybe it was the other way around. There’s only one shaft here for those who’ve slipped and started falling, but two directions to fall in, so maybe it was inevitable that we pass each other at some point, floating in that fell grace of a moment when everything seems to slow, synapses not lightning anymore but a soft dreamy thunder in suddenly hushed air. Face next to face, unexpected, close up and personal. Passing like that, it became every moment of us, all at the same time: we were in college, you were telling that professor about Kabul and I turned to see who was talking and fell in love with your hair, then we stood in the back stacks at the library, crying, and you said, Get rid of it. You took a book from the shelf and spied through the hole you’d made because you’d heard something in the next aisle, you thought someone was listening on the other side. I don’t know if I can do it, I whispered. You said, I’ll pay for it. You did. Another moment, and we were married, walking across the dunes at Ocracoke and the salt air was an ellipse in our lungs, a long line of dots making it hard to breathe or talk because we were already getting our divorce, making ellipses of ourselves to each other.
That’s when I reached a hand out to touch your face and time sped up again. It faded, we passed, me going up and you going down or vice versa. The rush of air booming back into place, and you were gone.
I saw you once in the least likely place. I shouldn’t have been in Paris anyway, because it does things to me, the miasmic canyon air above, stoned cliff buildings that march on forever, a labyrinth, so I always flee down into the Métro, where the air is hot in winter and uriney and somehow comforting. I was waiting for a train there to take me to Boucicaut, when murmurs rose and heads turned and I saw that a man who was either high or drunk or both had slipped down into the track well and was trying to cross to the other side. I felt that slippage in my gut; I’d never seen a live disaster, death or even injury close up. Most people haven’t and never will. Others were rushing to pull alarms, there was nothing I could do anyway, and I was going to look away so I wouldn’t see it happen if a train came in, I was going to look away, when I saw you standing on the opposite platform. It was so improbable – so many points in time had had to come together to get me from Charlotte to Europe that they formed a labyrinth themselves – but I wasn’t mistaken. You’d seen me too. There was that same Belstaff jacket that must have had antique value by then. Your disheveled hair. I took it all in, and all the moments that had ceased to have meaning did again. We did things wrong, went about it backwards. Forever falling in love, but never arriving in it. Talking, until we had nothing left to say, or what there was to say had become trapped in the ellipses.
The man down on the tracks had reached the other side, but he couldn’t climb up. Too drunk or broken. He’d make it halfway up and slip back down. Other men had converged on the spot but you were closest to him and you knelt and grasped his arm, dragged at his clothes. He kept making it hard. Seconds went by. I didn’t know where the third rail was, there was a rumbling in my ears, soft thunder, starting up from the tunnel.
I thought, We’ll never be here again.

 

E n d

 

 

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MEET THE DEFENESTRATIONISTS

 

Photo on 2013-05-28 at 23.04Paul-Newell Reaves is a poet and school teacher from Washington, D.C.  He has appeared online at thegimletmagazine.com , misfitsmiscellany.wordpress.com , and extensively on his own site, defenestrationism.net .  His critical works have been published in SZ Magazine [formerly Schizophrenic Digest] and on chamberfour.com .

 

googlepicMichelle Matthees lives and writes in Duluth, Minnesota. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s MFA program in Creative
Writing. Recent work of Michelle’s can be found in PANK, The Prose Poem Project, Cider Press Review, 22 Magazine, Proof, Memorious, Anderbo, Defenestrationism.net , 5 Quarterly, Humber Pie, Specs, Third Wednesday, Paradise Review, Sou’wester, Thrice Fiction, and on the radio at KAXE: http://www.kaxe.org/programs/the-beat.aspx .

 

IMG_1202Robert E. Petras is a graduate of West Liberty State University and a resident of Toronto, Ohio.  His poetry and fiction have appeared in more than 160 publications including Parody, Your Daily Poem, Speech Bubble Magazine, State of the Imagination and Decades Review.  His defenestration addiction occurred at an early age when he began flinging cigarette butts and beer bottles from his bedroom in his parents’ home and gradually progressed to a point in which he is tossing out bowling bowls and rubber dolls.

 

IMG_0274Gale Acuff  has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Ottawa Arts Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Arkansas Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poem, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008). He has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank, and now works for the Sichuan University for Nationalities, Guza, Sichuan, PR China.

 

Luke and Suvi

Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip are a husband and wife team, expecting their first child in June of 2013. Suvi holds a Master’s degree in Writing and Literature from Deakin University and has worked as a journalist in Australia and Canada. Luke is an OBGYN who enjoys writing, travel and photography in what little spare time he has. Together they recently published a featured short story in Ars Medica, a journal that explores the interface between the arts and medicine. They live in the tropical Whitsundays in Australia.

 

 

Rhonda Eikamp(1)Rhonda Eikamp is originally from Texas and lives in Germany. Stories of hers appeared up to 2001 in venues such as Barrelhouse and The Urbanite, after which she climbed out the window for awhile. Since refenestrating in 2012, she has published fiction in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Birkensnake and Apocrypha and Abstractions. When not writing fiction, she works as a translator of German legalese, which is as crazy-making as one might think. Favorite story with defenestration: Village of the Mermaids, by Lance Olsen.

 

 

Pumpkin DD. Glover graduated with a degree in graphic design from Brooklyn School of Design.  He is an artist and writer, and takes no guff.

 

 

 

 

 

Anonymous despises all persons and things Californian, but occasionally manages to consider it home.  Bankrupting his first adult at the tender age of 13, he has looted and ransacked up and down the West Coast in sheep-skin loafers.  His ideal relationship is perfectly captured in Scarlett from Love is a Dog from Hell.  He enjoys long walks by the beach, and collects vials of the tears of his enemies.

 

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