therapeutic one-upmanship

“In misdirected desire, the cicadas sing
their enticements to my lawnmower,
but its blades are dulled, and merely
caress the grass.”

“I didn’t ask about your feeble
suburban atmospherics.”

“My remark was contextual.
In answer to your question,
I make innumerable mistakes
in everything I do.”

The therapist offered scant comfort.
“Would the infinitude of your mistakes
match aleph-nought, of the rational numbers?”

“Less-than-rational, but does it matter?”

“By minutes and hours, by days and years,
all is oscillation. What matters
is your dimensionality.”

So authoritative, she was.
I revealed my inner origami.

“I was flat, now I’m crumpled,
turned from two, to an unpleasant three,

Not to be out-done, she countered:

“Once I was aligned, a strand
of uncooked spaghetti drifting
counter-planet wise, until I shattered
into fragments. Their gravitational
attraction framed a saturnine
ring around my mind.”

When we’d reached reductio ad absurdum
—quantum hamsters in gyroscopic wormholes—
the air conditioner was playing a waltz.

“Hold me close,” I said, “we must keep dancing.”

“I’m afraid that contravenes my code of ethics.”

aleph numbers

Still from the retroscapes video made for the Fracas Show, larger version here. Photography by Paul Sutton.


In February, I’ll be participating in the Fracas at the Articulate Project Space in Sydney with the phantasmagorical photographer Paul Sutton (insta). Our installation with video will be on display from February 12 to 21.

3 thoughts on “therapeutic one-upmanship

  1. Hilarious! ‘I revealed my inner origami’ is an unforgettable phrase. And I have met many a therapist with heads full of spaghetti. What I admire about your writing Steve is the way you can change direction from an apparently random non-sequitur opening to create something unique.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nikita. It felt right–there’s a lot of fanciful and fragile paper creations floating around in my head, and I’ve unravelled quite a bit of my own spaghetti.

      Sadly, that is my lawnmower. It’s grass-friendly. The cicadas are making a lot of noise this summer, but I find it pleasant. I’ve been hearing them since I was a child.

      The show is our third one at Articulate. An advantage is that I now know how it all works, and setting up should be straightforward, at least compared to the last two, where there were stacks of last-minute problems. Thanks again.


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