Friday, September 30, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventeen

wings. At her shoulder blades she has wings, lichen-like in coloring, dull and speckled, about the size of a pigeon’s wings. Nothing like that could generate the lift required for a dog, let alone one of this size. They make her look more like one of those fakes you see in a curio cabinet. You’ve seen the monkey-fish, haven’t you? Monkey head and arms glued to a fish body. When the gnome scowls, angry at some thought, the dog goes into a stretch, extended forelegs, raised butt, the wings opened wide. Dog shakes her head, the wings fold themselves back

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixteen

under the futon in the guest room, and dangling from a clothes hanger over the washing machine. I forget which is which. Leprechaun, gnome, does anybody really care? The Ugly Dog of Heaven lifts an ear when the counting gnome stops talking. The dog turns her head and looks searchingly into his scrunched up little face. She’s not a small dog, about the size of a German Shepherd, maybe, but no identifiable breed, pelt patchy, scaly, mottled skin easily visible beneath the sparse hair on her hips, one ear torn, watery, red-rimmed eyes. Ugly. Like I said. Even with her

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifteen

lovely cymbal-like crash we know the stainless steel kettle lid loves to make toppling and bouncing across the floor is a mystery. One lid yet balances precariously on the gnome’s left shoulder, another wobbles on his butt, looks like it will slide off any moment. His eyes are shut in what must be bliss. At some point I suppose one must find out more about these gnomes and leprechauns. They seem to be infesting this house, the medicine cabinet over the bathroom basin, the kitchen cupboards (yes, another is curled around the waffle press in the cupboard above the stove),

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fourteen

towering storm clouds. The invasion has started? She looks at her watch. A pale shadow indicates its absence from her wrist. That’s right. She took it off. Something to do with all that time travel, transformations, dimension-hopping, and the need to take a bath, no doubt. Maybe we can probe her mind from here. Tease her name from her frontal lobes, at least. X-ray vision might reveal her business card. We could send an emissary to ask around. The gnome is suckling on the knob of one of the lids. How he got it in his mouth without making that

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirteen

new clothes for the soul. The young woman lowers the tea bag into a pot, adds the water, and puts on the lid. The label hangs down the side. She looks at it more closely. There’s a symbol on it she’s never seen before. A logo? It’s not Chinese or Korean or Thai. A fanciful rune? Is it supposed to represent something? An animal. If it’s an animal. A plant. A fungus. An alien from outer space. A motif from an oriental rug. She shrugs and looks out the kitchen window. There are flying saucers skimming the flat undersides of

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twelve

a paper label, turns and turns, and as it turns the world turns (neat trick) and as the world turns like one grain of sand washed by the waves, the ripples from the bang that made us possible continue to pass through us on their way to the making possible, like the m the eye looks across to see what is coming, what can be done about it. As it turns it reveals its facets, each dark and tangled and riddled with surfaces, the better for the water, off the boil, to fall onto, to enter, to weave from fragrances

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eleven

its wrapping the bag spins slowly on the end of the string. The colors. Are there any? When the light falls on the bag. Brown like a grocery bag. Delicate as skin flayed from a morel. The night could wander for days in the forest looking for a clearing to dance in, the moon curled around the hole the great root of a three hundred year old tree jerked out of as the tree fell. Loosened from the grip of a tight little foil packet, the tea bag, the string that ties it shut the string that hangs it from

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ten

a pulsating sense of impending virtue, eclectic talents, whispered statistics, and, far in the back, so far back it might not even be there, it might be the shadow of something else, she has the feeling the unnamed god lurks under a tree in a skirt of purple feathers. She puts that tea bag down and returns to the bancha. Subtle and familiar. The dragonwell? Smooth and dependable. But that odd tea, the one without a label. There’s something about it she can’t put aside. The young woman tugs the bag by its string from the foil pouch. Free of

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Nine

under her nose. Hints of concision, suggestions of illusion, lost memories scratching across frictionless barriers, light delayed, a welter of anxieties, tooth decay, sincerity, dried and waxed old tears, white (but only in an abstract sense), burning summer beach boys, lacquer, liquorice, violent respect, a stooped vendor stirring the coals under chestnuts, water with many surfaces, bartender sweat, a silver coin commemorating the coronation of William XI, passels of castles, sleight of hand, weird warmth under a red stone on a frozen plain, alligators wearing fur, miles of chain mail, neither snow nor rain except in dark of night, plaque,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eight

and a guangxi in a triangular pouch. Among the green teas she considers the jade and the jasmine but without enthusiasm, sniffs the gunpowder before deciding it’s a bit much, and puts aside a dragonwell and a bancha as possibilities. The choice of whites is only two, peony or sunshine. All the herbal teas feature hibiscus. She has never liked hibiscus. While leafing through the tisanes, she comes across a foil wrapper that’s already been opened. Couldn’t the tea get damp then, and moldy? Maybe mold would improve hibiscus. Some molds are even psychedelic. The young woman holds the wrapper

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seven

and puts it over a blue flame. Having found the box of teas and the square tin of teas and the small cans of teas, she considers her options. There are black teas, green teas, and white teas. There are five oolongs and one small can of the sacred puerh. There are more than a few herbal teas, but those would more properly be called tisanes. Among the black teas she looks over tattered bags of darjeeling, bags of nilgiri in crisp cellophane, fresh bags of dooars and assam, both in red labels, a suspicious keeman in a black wrapper,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Six

first on the linoleum. And that’s the whole production. The cat and caiman hiss and skedaddle, the dog in the hall yawns and lays his head on his paws. “Where’s the remote?” asks a voice from the front room. “I’m making tea!” calls the woman, as she kneels to prod the unconscious gnome with her little fork. When he fails to flinch or groan, the woman gets out some pot lids and balances them precariously on his back. If he should move, there’ll be warning. Gnomes can be sneaky. She finds a kettle, fills it with water from the faucet,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Five

fork and jabs away at the offending toe. It won’t move. It won’t move, dammit. Get! Back! In! There! Ugh. Drops of blood on the counter. She looks at the end of the fork. Blood there, too. Oh. OK. She steps back, holding up the fork like a weapon. As the door swings open and the gnome falls out, the inadequacy of dessert fork as weapon becomes quickly apparent. Not that the gnome attacks. The gnome drops like a ton of bricks, striking the counter and doing a somewhat brick-like somersault on his way to the floor. He lands face

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Four

attraction to gnomes, but every story the friend would tell about her dysfunctional relationships with gnomes, the verbal abuse, the practical jokes, the indifference to human emotion, were examples of what to avoid in life, not what one had to keep going after, hungrily, ever hopeful, dreaming only of the next, surely better connection. The friend, who knows what became of her? If she never gave up her unhealthy obsession with gnomes, nothing good! Gnomes, thinks the woman who is currently trying to close a door on a gnome’s toe, are bad news. With her free hand she grabs a

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Three

kettle and box of tea bags. The first door she opens reveals neatly stacked plates and platters and bowls, the second door glasses and mugs and on the highest shelf the rarely used juicer. The third door she has to close quickly to prevent the gnome from falling out, but the door won’t latch. Ah, a toe is in the way. She tries to poke it back in but there’s more to it than that, it seems. The woman chews her lower lip. Of gnomes she can’t say she’s ever been a fan. She had a friend who had a strange

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Two

the king told her he had found her a match, the prince from the other side of the mountain would be her lord and master when she came of age, Velma arched one eyebrow. “Whatever,” she said. Does the caiman Velma remember when she was a human princess? She has her eye set on the cat in the kitchen. The cat is arched, hairs on end, mouth drawn open in a hiss and long, slow ehrrr. The woman with the transdimensional shift tuts as she steps over her pet. “Play nice, girls,” she says, opening cupboards in search of tea

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred One

of the transportation, the frog spun slowly in the water. He closed one eye, then the other, then opened them back up again. After several minutes of this seemingly stunned silence, Velma watching him as she knitted, the frog floated to the edge of the pot, looked up at her with an unfrog-like tenderness and said, “Thank you, Princess.” Velma nodded and smiled and later, when the frog had boiled, not having noticed the water heating up, it happened so gradually, she hummed to herself as she smuggled the body into the pocket of the chamberlain’s favorite dressing gown. When

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Just wanted to say, if you’ve been following “Thousand” for five hundred days, you have just that many more to look forward to.

Thousand: Five Hundred

little predator people always cast a gimlet eye upon. When Velma got to her room she hid the frog in her jewelry case, and fetched a big iron pot from the kitchen. “This will be your pond,” she told the frog, plunking him into it, “until such time as it will be most appropriate to return you to your natural form.” Then, saying nothing about it to the frog, the princess turned the electric hot plate on low, the electric hot plate on which she had settled the iron pot. “Nice froggy,” said the girl. Rather discombobulated by the manner

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Nine

outrank you. So shush and don’t go ribbit or anything. We gotta sneak you up to my room. Then. I guess. Then I guess we wait for the perfect moment. Cuz having a prince suddenly show up in my room, yeah, that would be kinda worse than a prince showing up all wet from the pond.” The frog mumbled from where Velma had stuffed him between her petticoats. “Shush!” hissed the princess, figuring her posture, thighs-together, hands folded tightly against them, would be approved, demure and all, finally acting the proper lady rather than the disgraceful loose-limbed, devil-may-care, impertinent, cold-blooded

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Eight

a stake through your heart right here, rightful resident of the pond or no. And who’s to say you’ve a right to a dip in the king’s pond? Just cuz yer a frog? Suppose I was a, what, a alligator or a crocodile or something. The king’d be in his rights to hunt me right down and turn me in a handbag. Or cowboy boots. Or whatever. So don’t go thinking just cuz you’ve been living here since you was a tadpole, don’t go thinking that makes you entitled to proposition the princess. Even if was born yesterday I’d still

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Seven

I could fall in.” So the frog clambered across the spongy weeds at the water’s edge and hop hop hopped to the side of the princess who so delighted him. The frog closed his eyes and opened his mouth, his tongue lolling. Velma shook her head. “No,” she said. “This isn’t a good place. If you were to transform into a prince, it wouldn’t look good. You’d probably be naked, for one thing, and for another, how would we explain it, you just suddenly showing up in the middle of the garden, chatting up the king’s favorite daughter. They’d drive

Friday, September 09, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Six

would touch her tongue to his. “Never,” she said, coldly, then reflected. “Touching tongues. Does that break an enchantment? I mean, suppose you were really a handsome prince who’d accidentally offended some thin-skinned fairy and she turned you into a toad. (‘Frog,’ said the frog.) Would you turn back into a handsome prince after the tongue thing?” “Let’s find out,” said the frog. “That might be worth doing something disgusting, I guess,” the girl said, nodding soberly. She patted the grass at her side. “Climb out here next to me. I’m not going to lean over that slimy old water.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Five

fuck?” The cousin slid the handle of the fork in and out of tightened lips. In and out, in and out the fork went and Velma watched its glistening progress with moist eyes. “Hear, hear,” chorused the assembled nobles at the conclusion of the toast. The princess belatedly bobbled her goblet like a rubber ball on the face of a disturbed pond. A pond. This was the same girl who rejected the advances of a frog that raised its head from the garden pond one day, eyed her hungrily, and declared that he would grant any wish if only she

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Four

smiled, yes, he saw it in gentle sway of her hair. That evening at the state dinner Reginald stood and proposed a toast to his host’s exquisite daughter, the finest example of womanhood that presently existed, why, one glance at the elegance of her golden tresses and there was no way a witness could deny that an intellect of true discernment, a wit of honed sharpness, a modesty most fetching. While this was going on and on and on some more, Princess Velma turned to her cousin who was scratching behind her ear with a fork, and whispered, “What the

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Three

fine expansive garden it was, fully large enough for throngs of adoring admirers, though it rarely hosted more than a handful) and bundled up their picnic things and the princess and hurried her off to her rooms lest propriety be offended by the male gaze. “Fan me, Pitty Pat,” gasped Reginald as he lay back on the bench, his eyes yet filled with every gesture the reluctant princess displayed as her tenders hustled her away. She had even, was it true?, looked over her shoulder at him, her future (he knew this now) king and liege, lover and husband, and

Monday, September 05, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Two

dangers and hardships he faced. In a word, he was smitten. He swooned, too. He sat down on a bench. He and his manservant had been strolling in the gardens while the father of the prince and the father of the princess put their official seals and signatures to some big deal treaty or whatever. Prince Reginald knew that what really mattered was the heart, and Prince Reginald knew his heart would break were he deprived of his beloved, who had just been pointed out to him while her maids were realizing there was company in the garden (and a

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-One

with his father when Velma was still a child but, so charmed was he by her grace and beauty, her manners, her erudition, her talents, the way the sun shone on her hair, the way the wind blew the hair out of her eyes, the way the dust of the road made him blink and cough and how she expressed the perfect amount of sympathy by gently lifting her hair away from her temples thus demonstrating to the prince who had come so far and over such rough terrain that she, though as yet an untraveled little girl, truly understood

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety

a beautiful crocodilian, sleek and lustrous, with eyes like limpid pools into which a frog has just leaped and a joyful smile shining with the most serious teeth. A wicked old fairy transformed her into a princess for a time. She had to live in a palace and be waited on hand and foot by awed and resentful servants. Her father the king promised to marry her to a handsome prince who would inherit the kingdom on the other side of the mountain. This prince, what was his name?, Reginald? something like that, this prince had come over the mountain

Friday, September 02, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Nine

complicated, isn’t it? Suppose I were to take a bite of it. It sure does look tasty. Oh, what the heck. If it’s just light particles, it’s not like I’m gonna hurt anything biting them. The caiman named Velma has recovered from her transdimensional torpor and is scooting across the carpet, headed for the kitchen. This raises the ire of the mastiff which has been sleeping in the hall. He jumps up, hackles spiky, growl full in his throat. Another dog? Are there really this many dogs in the world? Once upon a time there was a caiman. She was

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Eight

though you be. What a disguise! I think it’s ingenious myself. Yes, I just reached into my transdimensional satchel and grabbed it. No, the people aren’t the size of gnats. Well, to us they are, but just because we are reaching through from this end of the dimension. This apple, I mean, aerodrome is still where it belongs. I’ve just displaced a photonic emanation, you know, the light particles bouncing off the object; it looks like I am holding it because the light has not escaped the transdimensional field generated by the satchel. Or something like that. It’s all so