Our Ghosts Read Us Bedtime Stories: pt II. Deconstructing

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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.



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?



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