Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Blank Slate by Jeremy Maddux

Dear Peeing Boy Fountain of Pacebrook Park,

I know you are terribly busy these days, what with Mr. Weiss who jogs through your vicinity every day and stops to rest on your cusp, and Roma Wheeler who brings her rotten children to your park to play every day while she scoops the coins from your basin. Who can forget the old men who gather to play chess on the bench just beyond your reach, as if using their activity to compete with your own spectacle.

With that being said, I am soliciting your attention for two reasons, which I will now outline:

1) I have spent the better part of my adolescence in your spectrum of being. It was with you that I was first exposed to the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, T.S. Eliot, even Bukowski. The sensation of yellow banner of sun falling over us as I engaged the poet with a sailor’s temperament has never left me, nor the whirlpools of shade that swallowed me as we watched the day end, together. I knew it was where I was supposed to be.

2) Have you seen her? You know exactly who I’m referring to. The woman with the whimsical wardrobe and the tear-shaped buttocks that spurns on animal thoughts in my swelling humanity. I first met her while feeding ducks gathered at your monolith’s bedside. Nothing sets me so firmly on the path of championing animal rights as a woman whom I fear unattainable otherwise. I know she used to traipse through your territory every Sunday afternoon and sometimes Thursday and Friday. We enjoyed many multi-faceted discussions, about the universal consciousness, experiential theory and even capitalism’s best laid trap of corporatism.

I had many chances to ask her name. I could lapse into tangents about unspoken inner narrative, illustrate with laconic precision the critical dilemmas of declaring war on drugs

in a free republic, but I couldn’t be bothered with what her mother called that tangle of windblown, strawberry blond hair, that space between her shoulder blades that impressed upon me the urgency of active living whenever I watched her walking away.

Now, she hasn’t visited you in approximately two months, since the end of January. That’s exactly fifty nine days, sixty by the time your custodians and attendants have had time to pore over this document.

Something has happened. No need to tell me I’m overreacting. I know something has gone wrong with the cosmos. Yesterday, while feeding the fowl at your feet, I observed a peculiar anomaly as the sun fell behind its rotational curtain. I noticed strange shapes emerging from the dusk, funnels of shadow which fell on the ducks like oil slicks with teeth. Their reaction was to hiss and clap their wings at one another, liberally excreting waste as they snapped at even their own young. I don’t have to tell you how upsetting this phenomenon was. I still can’t believe the children nearby never took notice.

She must have come some time after I last saw her, unless she only exists through my seeing her. I’m still puzzling over the implications of implied existence versus accepted existence, and it is too late in the game for anyone to write a textbook or manifesto about such musings. I want to love her, but I can’t do so without first conquering the inevitable gender anxiety (which endures with great consistency) between male ego and female form.

If her existence is merely implied, then she is a blank washboard for me to project any number of phobias, philias or habitué onto, until or unless her existence becomes accepted.

The moment her existence is accepted, either by myself or through you, she can then begin to effect me and project onto me the memes which populate her own reality. I could be her friend, her father, her lover, a father/lover hybrid per Freud or even (Fountain Forbid) a threat to her physical safety.

Surely you can relate to this plight, seeing as how any number of individuals project meaning onto you each day, until you have no choice but to accept your own existence, regardless of whether you are accepting an implied existence or an accepted existence. That too, is for us to determine.

Please, tell me her name. Why hasn’t she been to the park in sixty days? I kept my hands to myself, even if I can’t say the same for my eyes.

Yours Truly,

A Blank Slate


Jeremy Maddux lives in Blountville, TN where he serves as Vice President of the Night Writers’ Guild. He was recently voted Talent of the Year by his peers. Jeremy’s work has been featured in Surreal Grotesque, Connotation Press, Literary Orphans, Garbled Transmissions, Red Fez, Dream People Magazine and The Glass Coin. He recently had a story published in Aliens, Sex & Sociopaths: The Best of Surreal Grotesque. He is also Co-Editor of Surreal Grotesque.

Copyright Jeremy Maddux
Artwork by Max Ernst

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