Louis Gallo

Two volumes of Louis Gallo’s poetry, Crash and Clearing the Attic, will be published by Adelaide in the near future.  A third, Archaeology, will be published by Kelsay Books.  His work has appeared or will shortly appear in Wide Awake in the Pelican State (LSU anthology), Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth,  Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others.  Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books:  A New Orleans Review.  His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times. He is the recipient of an NEA grant for fiction.  He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.

Strange Attractors

The phenomenon of symmetry-breaking introduces an essential random element into the evolution of the universe.   –John Barrow

Userlog 7-19-17 (3:30 PM):

I resume my pilgrimage to the Justine Alba devotion shrines in cyberspace.  There are roughly fifty-seven such shrines as well as many less trustworthy sites with doctored X-rated photos.  Someone who calls himself “Aurobindi” has compiled ten thousand shots in chronological order and has even managed to secure an ultrasound image of Justine in the womb.  He has taken the time to share it with the world, perhaps the universe.  Who knows exactly where or what cyberspace is?  The Justine opus has surely consumed much of Aurobindi’s time, his life.  I try to envision him or her.  Pale, waxen, devoid of sinew, peppered with acne, a genius no doubt, tortured by hopeless passion, and, well, devotion.  He would sacrifice his very being to serve Justine, the girl-woman, seductive beyond her years (and, surely, despite her public protestations to the contrary, aware of the fact).  Most of the shots are not prurient at all; they portray Justine in respectable, even boring attire, yet always Justine with molten, swollen eyes cocked heaven-ward, Justine walking her poodle or biting into a stick of celery . . . yet the link, this particular one at least, has been visited by over three-million cybersurfers.

What does it mean?

I should also mention that one or two images—you must click a lot to find them—are unabashedly if tamely lurid.  “How can you behold this photo, this goddess, and not cringe?” asks one of the Justine priests.

How old is Justine?  How old am I?  The universe is about fifteen billion years old, give or take.  What about cyberspace?  Has it always existed or did we invent it?

I am, by the way, a professor of communications at the local university, and I am writing a book about sexuality in the digital domain.  I came across the actress Justine Alba by accident while watching one of her campy movies, Godzilla Versus Mothman, no doubt merely a money-maker for all concerned and now a cult sensation.  Justine turns out to be a superb performer with, I believe, unlimited talent and dramatic rigor.  I found information on the movie cast and learned from an interview with Justine that her favorite book is Heinz Pagels’ The Cosmic Code!  Imagine!  A beautiful, sexy (by default or otherwise) super-star interested in Schrodinger’s collapse of the wave function.  Too good to be true.  I was hooked.

 

<<<BREAK:

My five-year-old daughter calls to say that she is afraid of something new.  “I’m afraid of crows, Daddy,” she chirps into the mouthpiece as if proud of fear.  I dutifully inform her that it’s silly to be scared of crows.  Iona craves being told how silly fear is.  How can she know that crows terrify her old dad as well?  It began for me when I happened to see one of them perched on the lid of our garbage can out back; it pecked around, tore open a plastic bag and clamped in its beak one of Ion’s obsolete pacifiers from some years ago.  The thing was stuck to the bottom of the can all that time.  The crow extracted it and flew promptly into the air, pacifier lodged in its beak, and ascended.  Since then I have dreamed of crows swooping down from the clouds and snatching my daughter, my wife, random people on the streets.  Crows bode no good.  Tricksters.

I envision a nest of baby crows in some tall, skeletal yew greedily sucking on my daughter’s mottled, discarded binkie.

I tell her the story of Hermie the Sad Little Seed who eventually, despite his perpetual tears, will grow into the tallest oak in the world.   “Have patience,” Hermie’s mother would chant monotonously to her distraught little seed.  “Have patience, Iny,” I chant monotonously to my intense little daughter, who has regressed a bit since the birth of her younger sister three months ago.  Baby Celestia has perpetual colic.  Iona has fears and bad dreams, Lisa and I have not slept for quite a while.  We tend to have visions at odd hours during the day.  Yesterday Lisa told me that she saw an old man sitting at the foot of our bed.

“How old?” I wanted to know.  Precise age has become important to me.  Then, “What did he look like?”

“Tonto,” she replied seriously, “the way he looked on that show.”

Lisa, far too young to remember the original, has only seen reruns on YouTube.

“Jay Silverheels?” I gasp.  “Sitting on the edge of our bed?  Should we rejoice or shudder?  And by the way, he wasn’t that old.”

It was Lisa who actually called, not Iona.  My daughter is very bright but still only recently five.  Lisa called to check in and compare exhaustion levels and hear an adult voice, despite my notorious immaturity.  She called to say that she, Iona and the baby were sitting on the front porch swing, that someone next door was weed-eating—Iona is afraid of Weed-eaters–, that the stray Blackie who showed up the other day had curled asleep on our rocker.  Iona can’t touch Blackie because of her feline allergies.  Not only cats.  Peanuts, dogs, milk.  Thus I carry a ready-to-go, state-of-the-art hypodermic full of epinephrine in my bag at all times.  “For Allergic Emergencies” reads the warning on its casing.  If cloudy, dispose of, re-consult the spidery instructions.  Worst-case scenario:  Iona succumbing to anaphylactic shock, her face and eyes swelling like bloated melons, her throat constricting, gasping, hives erupting, I snapping off the cap and thrusting the needle into her toothpick thigh.  I should order another tube for my heart.

These are the days of skulking around bad news and horrific prospects.

Two cans of Diet Pepsi exploded in the refrigerator overnight.

I pay close attention to signs, signifiers and omens.

 

Userlog  7-19-17 (3:15 PM):

 

Aurobindi terminates his portfolio with a mournful apology.  “I regret that my gallery is incomplete.  I will work on it for you.  Give me time.”

Work on it?   For me?  How old is Aurobindi.  Surely just another pimply pre-teen, a computer nerd whose libidinal quotient has soared exponentially.  Enslaved by Justine.  Has she examined her own shrines and disciples?  What must she think?  Clueless, amused, disgusted, angry?

* * * * * * * * *

. . . from chaotic systems, the omnipresent uncertainty of Time Zero means that

predictability—the cornerstone of Newtonian physics—crumbles.

–Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield

* * * * * * * * *

< < < BREAK:

I forgot to mention the bomb threat.  Building next door.  Fire trucks, police cars and ambulances abound.  Swat teams.  Our entire area, my office complex that is, cordoned off.  I observe the commotion from my window.  When I came in to explore the web someone wearing a dark suit with shoulder dandruff accosted me and demanded to see my ID.  A dark, lean mean.  Crow.

“Secret service,” he quipped.  “Who are you?”  I humbly explained then inquired about the outside pandemonium.  Dandruff man told me about the bomb almost gleefully I might add.  No ordinary Monday afternoon this.  I could almost sense a shift in being itself, as if tectonic plates were clashing.  This was Life itself as reported by Poppy Marlow on CNN.  I am glad the officer did not frisk me since I’ve taken to carrying a pair of brass knuckles in my jacket pocket to compensate for the diminution of any fight of flight mechanism.  Does aging involve a flirtation with weapons and artillery?  Or do I simply sense more danger than my counterpart members of the AARP, an organization to which I have belonged in good stead since age twenty-five?  Maybe I can punch the wretched crows off our fence, garbage cans, deck rails, wherever they may light.  KO them into crow hell.

Why are there no Poppy shrines?  She is also beautiful and a woman you can call a woman, not some teen waif.  How old is Poppy?  I wonder if Poppy has read Heinz Pagels.  I hope so.

The bomb scare has not dampened the activities of Camp Wheeze, a summer project of our institution.  Every year, first week in July, we sponsor the event, a sort of carefree getaway for kids afflicted with asthma and bronchial disorders, the rise of which we associate with the poisons in our food, furniture, the very atmosphere.  The kids play horseshoes, bad mitten, musical beanbag chairs and a low-grade form of ruby—deliberate low-tech choices.  Every so often one of them drops out and is rushed to the nearby health concession for oxygen.  I dread that someday Iona will become a member-in-good-standing of Camp Wheeze.  Do the current members know that cockroach shit contains a deadly antigen which triggers attacks?  Yours truly is officially allergic to cockroaches, so the EpiPen in my bag serves not only Iona but myself.  I have not had to deploy it yet for either of us and hope I never will.

The Bomb Squad occupies one quadrant of our Facility (hopefully for the short term) and Camp Wheeze another.

Over near the pond—I can see everything from my window—a group of senior citizens practices Tai Chi in such slow, excruciating measure they approach Absolute Zero, the cessation of all sub-atomic motion.  Oblivious to the bomb scare, stooped and splintery, they float about in white gis, determined to improve their fluidity and timing, to relax, to—like Camp Wheeze kids—breathe.  Have they shifted to the Orient because Western medicine and technology have failed them?  Bardos sound like a pretty good deal the closer you flirt with boundary conditions.  Perhaps I should invite them to my office where we can reverently click onto the Dalai Lama’s home page.  Do we now die and resurrect digitally?

 

Userlog  7-19-17 (3:45 PM):

It seems that shrines have been erected not only to Justine but to every celebrity on earth, even long gone Theda Bara, even—gasp!—Danny DeVito.  Beavis and Butthead are everywhere.

I have arrived at a site called “Redheads” and click on one of the innocent-looking tabs.  A large color visual gradually materializes—85% of 267K, 18 secs remaining—and finally, voila, what ho!  A thick-set naked man, “Rudy,” his enormous, bloated member engorged with blood and ready for action.  Not my cup of tea, but who am I to so harshly judge?  Rudy has every right to display his cybernetic icon, though I hope Iona and Celestia will never click on accidentally.

Now the Road Kill site.  Folks all over the world with a yen for squashed armadillos, skunks, groundhogs, snakes, possums, whatever.  We are invited to play a round of Roadkill Bingo.

And here . . . the Light Bulb joke site.  I’ve searched for this one.  A new light bulb joke every ten seconds.  Do they extend infinitely in time, I wonder, or has the creator engineered some cyclic feedback loop?  Finite but unbounded.  Like the cosmos, said Einstein.  I note also a racist/ethnicist element to the jokes.  How many Italians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  How many Poles can you cram into a light bulb?

What does one dying light bulb poet say to other?

Photons, more photons!  Ah, a literary twist, shades of Goethe on his deathbed.

Now an authentic Justine—back to Justine—audio clip.  “Hello,” says Justine . . . that’s it.  Here’s another audio site, not Justine’s.  Someone having an orgasm from a porn movie.  We can all now sit before our consoles or laptops and listen to people moaning and screaming as they climax.  Is this progress or some sort of mutant, depraved devolution?  But you’ll never catch Justine at it despite that photo of her in underwear and chains.  Of thickset, raunchy Rudy, I cannot speak.  I imagine an orgasm in cyberspace would be like sneezing under water.

Technology has transformed us all into voyeurs, either accidentally or with intent.  And what of the varied “clubs” that post videos and photos of, say, caca-eaters.  There are enough of them to form clubs!  What dues must they pay to join?

 

< < < BREAK:

Last night while awaiting the local forecast (yes, I am a weather and climate freak) I saw a commercial for the Easy Money Coin Assorter.   I had to have it, a device that maximizes order and thereby thwarts entropy.  Remember, the mathematician who configured the equations for entropy was so aghast at their implications that he hanged himself, a fact I like to cite to my cheerful, fair-weathered colleagues every so often.  I champion Boltzmann and his stance against ever-encroaching chaos.

Lisa declared the Coin Assorter a waste of money, but I softened her concern by explaining that eventually the device would help both Iona and Celestia with their math.  Lisa has always claimed that I waste money on superfluities.  I grudgingly admit that the Barking Dog Front Door Alarm System was a bad idea, but I also maintain that it’s more fun to waste money on superfluities than necessities.  Anyway, it didn’t sound like a real dog at all, more like a recording of some maniacal Cro(w)-Magnon barking into a microphone.  And the Magnetic Acupuncture Shoe Inserts backfired grandly.  Rather than soothe my aching flat feet they felt like tiny pebbles grinding into the skin.  Lots of pain.

We have become the ubiquitous media we consume.  It subsumes us.

 

Dense patches of viscous fog.  They’re rolling in already.  I smell their sodden, musty molecules.  But why “patches”?  Why not swirls or puffs of whorls.  We professors of communication like precise language.   Whorl, that’s precise.  There is now even a sexy meteorologist on the Weather Channel, in fact several.  Sex, it seems, also sells weather and atmospheric fluctuations.  My favorite channel is the Weather Channel, sexy meteorologists or no.  I would watch if Danny DeVito pointed a baton at the Northwest Territories.  Or maybe Rudy.  The Weather Channel engenders peace and a sense of well being however dire the forecast.  Looks like we will indeed experience “patches” and perhaps hail.  The dew point surely rests at over 79.  A dying man once told me that dew points are the key to everything.  Sort of like liquid quarks.

Tonight is Lisa’s birthday.  She will be thirty years old.  She is horrified, dejected, wrecked over it.  I offer to trade vintages with her, I twenty years her senior.  Oh, to be thirty again.  I’d have it made.  I could insulate the entire basement myself in less than a day.  But my aging spine has calcified and I have been at the job for two weeks now, bit by bit, patch by patch, whorl by whorl.

Or perhaps I savor the job as never before and drag it out.  There is indeed something glorious about the polyvapor facing on my brand of fiberglass batting.  Reinforced as well with triple flange.  When I try to explain to Lisa how our high performance value offers excellent thermal and mildew resistance, she only scoffs and accuses me of being a detail man.

“What!” I rejoin.  “Of course I’m a detail man.  The entire universe is a detail man!  Or woman.  Your gender of choice.  Every electron—trillions upon trillions of them—is exactly the same in structure and composition.  Talk about detail!”

Truth is, I despise detail.  I’m a broad-stroking generalist all the way.  Details bore me to death and I wouldn’t give them the time of day if I had the money.  Details are humus heaps for the anal-retentive.  It’s how Stalin got where he got—scrutinizing the details.  Not that I admire Stalin.

Nevertheless, our triple-flanged batting with its R-15 thermal resistance pleases me enormously.  I am proud to pay for such a product.  I can even receive a senior citizen discount when I flash my AARP membership card before the eyes of the cashier.

God bless America.

* * * * * * * *

The general thesis of my book is that, given phishing, ransom ware, viruses, hacking, fraud, identity theft . . .the internet, however its glorious potential for shopping, entertainment, research and business, is not worth the danger it also assures.  And therefore it should be abolished.  I am neither an engineer nor a technician and have no idea how to accomplish the abolition; I leave that to the engineers and technicians.

            The specific thesis of my book, assuming no one will abolish the internet, is that its sexual content has or will soon impair interpersonal relations, particularly when it comes to mutual sexuality, the mystery of flirtation, the zion of skin upon skin.  Young men and women no longer need to worry about rejection, the agony of uncertainty, not even about venereal disease.  All they need do is click onto one of the Justine shrines—or the shrines of anyone or, more nitty-gritty, onto any of the thousands of hardcore sites.  Instant self-gratification, over and over and over again.  Why deal with the unknowns of epidermal ecstasy when one can consummate with one’s self in cyberspace?  And it’s fast!  No frustration, no clandestine meetings, no secrecy, no covert maneuvers.  No failure.  No wasted time—no foreplay, no humoring the partner’s whims of the moment, no spending a dime on movie tickets or bouquets or rental tuxedos or evening gowns for the prom. 

            How solve the problem?  Abolish the internet.  Easy.  Not so easy.  Impossible

 

Userlog 7-19-17 (4:15 PM):

 

The Rage site.  Pissed off people all over the world incensed about everything.  One of them loathes Prince Charles.  “The man should sell shoes,” he or she fumes.  “Why should he be so rich because he was born?  Give me the money.  I’ll do the tea parties.”

Back to Allergies.  A folksy dermatologist tells us the story about a patient determined to be allergic to something, though scratch tests deemed him clean.  Every week he returned for a new screening.  “Try figs,” he pleaded.  The dermatologist informed him that there were no fig tests yet.  “Concoct one,” he demanded, “I’ll pay.  So the dermatologist did.  The patient was not allergic.  The next week he wanted to try aluminum, the following neckties, then Scotch tape.  And on it went for many months and thousands of dollars lost.  Finally the dermatologist discovered that the man did indeed have an allergy.  To the dermatologist!

The Marcia Cohen site.  Who is Marcia Cohen?  Her home page describes her as no one, nineteen years old, a cashier at Villa Villa Food Mart in Boca Raton.  Click on her icon and review her naked flash in all its not-so-glorious glory.  Who is Marcia Cohen and why does she want to expose herself?

A home renovation site.  One Ken “the painter” Linkous explains that the only way you can really paint a house is stroke by stroke with an artist’s brush.  “Otherwise, you’ll miss spots,” he warns.  “Streaks will show up close.  That’s the last thing you want.”  Ken admits proudly that it took him fifteen years to paint his two-story Victorian house in this manner.

Juatine again.  Why can’t I stay away from Justine?  Perhaps I will join her fan club and make it official.   Am I, probably like everyone else who probes the shrine, a pervert?  No.  Justine does not turn me on; she does not arouse me; I feel no sexual desire for her whatever.  I am merely astounded that anyone—it could have been Rudy had he evinced beauty and not homeliness–could be so beautiful.  It defies the imagination.  What is the nature of such beauty; of what does it consist?   Something for Plato to ponder, perhaps, for it leaves me dumbfounded.  I have never seen a man as beautiful as Justine.  So it’s also a gender thing.  When I gaze at some of her pictures, I feel aesthetic joy, intellectual thanksgiving, yearnings for perfection.  What Keats might have felt when he gazed at that Grecian urn.  Or Longinus pondering the Sublime.

 

< < < BREAK:

I must get out of here.  I promised Iona that I would drive her to Wal-Mart so she could pick out a little surprise for her mother’s birthday tomorrow.  We’re on the cheap these next few birthdays for all of us.  Need a new furnace for the coming Arctic winter, given climate change, given the prospect of a new Ice Age.

Last night she crept into my study and whimpered, “I stubbed my lip, Daddy.”  Naturally, I scooped her up and bestowed dozens of kisses upon her pouty cheeks.  The night before I had drunk half a bottle of Gallo Hearty Burgundy, which I did so on the advice of Consumer Reports (to dissolve lipids in the blood), stared at my favorite picture of Iona when she was only one year old, and wept bulbous salt tears, a good old-fashioned, sentimental deluge.  Never again would I see her at that age.  It seemed cosmically unfair.  Not that I do not cherish her at five.  But why do the days flit away so relentlessly and with such alacrity?

My life has taken a momentous, disorderly turn.

You reach a bifurcation point, the chaos people tell us, when everything goes haywire and nothing is predictable.  I mentioned this to Lisa.  She retorted that life is like that from the day you’re born.

“It can’t be,” I shook my head.

“It is,” she said.

“Then why do things sometimes make sense?”

“Desperation,” she said.

I am looking for answers, but not now on the Internet.  Deeply into the night I peruse esoteric tomes, The Dynamics of Fractuals or The History of Pewter, for instance, in a quest for certainty, absolute, universal certainty.   The Internet is mostly show biz for the masses.  Opium of the people.  Addiction.  The “opioid” crisis pales in compare.

* * * * * * * *

It is now recognized that quite generally systems driven far from equilibrium undergo abrupt spontaneous changes of behavior.

–Paul Davies

* * * * * * * *
Physicist Leo Szilard noted that the equations for information theory and thermodynamic entropy are identical.  A gain here, a loss there—but always net loss overall.

* * * * * * * *

 

I am an absolutist bobbing in a sea of relativity.  Turns out, getting down to brass tacks, that the primal ultimates are electrons and quarks.  When they pass through a mysterious ether-like something called the Higgs Field, which pervades the entire universe, they alchemize into matter.  Ex nihilo.  Given a chart courtesy of Scientific Americana I have calculated that my body, my mass (mass=frozen energy) contains 2.5 X 10 to the 28th power electrons and 7.0 X 10 to the 28th power u quarks.  I could go on but why bother?  At what point does a phase shift occur and we become Marcia Cohen or Rudy or Justine Alba, or, voila, ourselves?  Something like counting angels on the head of a pin.  Hamlet becomes pertinent here, though I am no Prince nor was meant to be:  “I could be bound in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space—were it not that I have bad dreams.”  Premonitions, hunches, forebodings, portents, synchronicities,

omens.  Crows.

 

< < < Userlog 7-19-17 (5:00PM)

No reports, now or never again.  Cold turkey.

Turns out abolishing the Internet is pretty easy.  Just don’t turn on your computer.

Become a neo-Luddite by default.

I will delete my Userlog after this entry.

I will burn my manuscript in the back yard later tonight.  I had planned nothing of this only an hour ago; it simply came as one of those eureka moments, a quantum leap of the mind, a systemic aberration, a revelation as I prefer to think.   The internet had sucked me in as it has most of my students who stare into their smart phones day in, day out, during class, outside of class, probably when they’re asleep, and dreaming.   And while I had often in the past expressed my misgivings to my students and anyone else who would listen about this mental contamination of today’s youth, while I threatened to lower their grades if they did not put away their gadgets, while I published articles and letters warning fellow teachers and parents that not only the internet, but digitality in general, was a new kind of disease afflicting the young . . . I had no idea that I myself had succumbed, had become infected, had metamorphosed into some sort of cyborg at the mercy of conglomerations of pixels, bytes and googles of bogus information.  I had no idea that the contagion had   lured me away from my family, my wife, my children, that rather than interact with them personally, I spent much of my time clicking on tabs and icons.  And for what purpose?   I rationalized that the purpose, to write a book, a timely study of contemporary culture and ersatz communication, had merit and might help advance my career.  And perhaps so.  But really, I was mesmerized, had taken the bait, had elevated the likes of Justine Alba (a mere image composed of pixels) into some idealization of transcendent beauty.  At the expense of Lisa, my gorgeous, red-haired wife with ultramarine eyes, who bore me two splendid children and, despite childbirth, remains as desirable and passionate as the day I met her.  I have neglected her and I know she feels the neglect.  And my dear children, who came to me late in life and whom I regard as almost holy, they too I’ve neglected in my quest for what turns out the equivalent of the squat, dark tower to which Browning’s Childe Roland finally espies after his trek through the wasteland.

So I shall return home, eat with my family, drive Iona and myself to, no, not

Wal-Mart, but some upscale store in the mall and pick out a diamond necklace for Lisa, overload Visa in the process, and relish watching Lisa open the box on Saturday night when we celebrate her thirtieth.

Or perhaps nothing has changed.  Some errant neural twitch only, a momentary resolution like those for the New Year to stop eating red meat or smoking or losing weight or exercising more.  And nothing changes—you’re soon back to the old grind.  A quantum glitch, anti-particle rather than particle.  But I hope to persevere.  I hope to beat the odds.  KO entropy, along with the crows, with my brass knuckles.

* * * * * * * *

Iona and I did indeed drive through viscous patches of fog to Zale’s to pick out a sparkling neckless of not only diamonds but rubies as well, an art-deco looking piece of exquisite workmanship.  Ten grand down the hole—must put off the furnace until winter becomes unbearable.  On the ride home Iona recited a litany of her fears—the usual crows, weed eaters, vacuum cleaners, staple guns, pottery, lawn sprinklers, mail boxes, et al.  She asked me what I feared and aside from my own usual litany, I said, “strange attractors.”

“What’s that?” she asked, immensely curious.

“Temptation,” I said.

“What’s that?”

How explain?  Let’s see . . . “It’s almost doing what you know you shouldn’t do, like not eating the extra cookie you want to eat.”

She pondered for a moment.  “I’m afraid of that too.”

It dawns on me that I will be attempting to buy, to purchase, Lisa’s good graces and forgiveness.  I’m tempted to turn the Subaru around and return the wretched albeit gorgeous necklace to Zale’s (given their three-day return policy).  I do in fact swing a U-turn at the next intersection but then swing back around again toward home.

“Iona, we’re going to save this necklace for your mommy until Christmas.  That would be better, don’t you think?”

“Christmas, yeahhhh!”

“We’ll stop at the all-night florist and get her a big bouquet of flowers.  You can pick them out.  That will be her birthday present.  And maybe we can then get that broken furnace fixed so we don’t freeze to death before Christmas.  How about that?”

“I’m scared of winter, Daddy.”

Do I sense the creeping in of fearful abstractions into my five-year-old daughter’s fertile imagination?  Oh, poor baby, just wait.  Vacuum cleaners, water sprinklers . . . nothing next to abstractions, those most nefarious of attractors, intangibles that often have more impact than tangibles, say, being snatched away in the talons of Godzilla Crow.

In mathematics an attractor represents a system tending to evolve away from itself, its origin or starting point—an upshot of chaos theory.

And I did burn my manuscript, all 403 pages of it.  It wasn’t finished.  It will never be finished.  I am done with it and all it implicates.  The girls, Lisa and I watched it blaze to ash in one of our empty garbage cans, pentacostal embers of it swirling above the flame in the fog and breeze.

* * * * * * * *

Lisa and I lying in bed facing each other, smiling, after epic love-making (or what I like to think as epic), the girls nestled in their beds upstairs.  Oh, Lisa’s smile, so sensuous and tempting, beyond the Mona Lisa enigma.

“Thank you for the flowers, “she whispers.  “I love you.”

“I love you more, I’m older and therefore contain more love.”

She laughs and closes her eyes, Lisa, my wife, only thirty (that grand age), my own familiar flesh and blood attractor, tugging the system that is I from itself toward the paradise at hand.

About to doze off, I sense a crow, nay a raven, rapping at our window sill.  I throw a silent punch toward it, toward its shadow, without the brass, and off it soars into the blackest of night, the ever-encroaching disarray, the whirl and confusion, outside.

© 2019 Louis Gallo