No 8 - June 1999
The Little Force
For Raymond Roussel and Yoichi Kawamura, brothers in Heaven
The child was still alive,
though he was once dead. The child
held the keys of hell and death
the last time the witnesses saw him
riding a small bicycle
near the park.
We split into search groups:
Leather Team (I)
& Velvet Team (II)
We searched all day without finding
anything but a dead crab in a plastic bag.
Velvet Leader stopped to draw circles
on various stones
to lure OUR HEAVENLY FATHER closer.
We knew if we passed this test
we should inherit all things,
assume a divinity of sorts, and incorporate this child
into the workings of our extended family system.
As the heat increased, the efficiency
of our team effort decreased. But there
was little point in dying from exertion. We assumed
a new division of labor without dissent or
murmur. We found some thrones and we
sat upon them. The Leather Team laid
hold of an old serpent
and bound him for 1000 years
as per their secret instructions.
The Velvet Team reported that the child’s
mother had not returned to her home. We all
began to worry. She usually smokes about
twenty cigarettes a day so we searched the sky
for tell-tale clouds. No evidence was forthcoming.
We duly noted this in The Book of Eternal Life.
One witness described a pale horse ridden
by a rather sinister-looking fellow, with two others
following at a distance. We passed out
the supply of white robes to everyone in the
surrounding community. Suddenly the search was complicated
by an earthquake when roads, mountains
and islands were moved from their accustomed places.
We had been searching for 40 hours, and some
team members wished to take it easy. (Some
of them acted like blameless students, when in fact
they were already married!) We couldn’t adopt
such a vague plan. “As long as you work
aimlessly, efficiency will never improve!
The glory and honor of our nation is at stake!” said a patch of
wetness shimmering in air.
We waited by a tree-shaded river. Some
of us were healed while others behaved
rudely. Leather Leader felt some danger lurking
nearby. “The second woe is past, but the third woe
will come quickly,” he whispered into his mike.
Fortunately, we found the child’s name tag on a hill side,
but Velvet Leader quickly radioed back
that his team had discovered the child’s
decapitated head in front of the gates
of the local junior high school! “There
is no excuse for this conduct!” we shouted. Leather Team
found this site conveniently close to the station
and immediately began significant videotaping.
Upon closer inspection we uncovered
a white stone, and in the stone a new name
written, which none of us could decipher.
We ascertained that the killer left the head
between 5 and 5:20a.m. Tuesday morning.
We learned much from our failure, though
ironically, the child’s head knew more about the workings
of this criminal’s mind, where he dwelled, even
where his seat was, but it held fast his name
even after repeated questioning from our trained
interrogators, Alpha and Omega. In exasperation,
Omega struck the head, and three pieces
of blood-stained paper fell from
behind its curled tongue:
My mother fled into the wilderness
after the Great Dragon threatened her.
She found two eagle feathers beneath a ginkgo tree
& flew up among the stars, much like
a Chinese acrobat I had once seen
in Shanghai. The Great Dragon
was waiting for her there. He knelt
between her lifted knees
and pressed his mouth to her sex,
patiently awaiting my birth. Of course,
he wished to devour me as soon
as I was born...
You nay call me The Great Dragon,
though no one knows my real name.
I can only find peace of mind
by killing this child over and over.
Indeed, I have the ability to kill
him in all 360 worlds! Do not feel
pity for this boy. He boasted once too often
that his father was a rich man. I saw
the face of his HEAVENLY FATHER and planned
my revenge. To tell the truth, I never
liked God’s arrogant attitude. He always acted
in an overbearing manner in front
of His subordinates. I wore a mask of rain
and dressed in a light robe the color
of industrial pollution. I bought a saw
and a fish-gutting knife and hid them
under a white stone…then awaited my move…
Instructions: Copy these letters in your best handwriting, then
send your copies to the appropriate parties using the pre-printed
envelopes included in your test packet.
(You have 30 minutes to complete this section.)
To Leather Leader I, write:
I know what you are doing and how patient you are and how you can’t abide evil. I know how you have tested those that taste not death and found their predictions to be no more accurate than ours.
For my name’s sake keep working! If you stop I will quickly come and take those seven antique candlesticks you have stored in the back room. You won’t know they are gone until you look for their reflection in a mirror. Then you will see the seven golden stars I have left in their place.
To Velvet Leader II, write:
I am first and last in these matters.
I know what you are doing: your hard work, and your lack of money (though you are really rich), and I know that your team mates are inexperienced and consequently not much help in solving this case.
But don’t be afraid to let a stranger drive your car!
And don’t be afraid to watch over someone else’s baggage!
The plan is proceeding as scheduled, though you too are somewhat to blame.
Now go your ways and pour out the vials of blood upon the stones, and do not stop to talk to the reporters who accost you in hordes.
Though the climate is mild around there, do not play tag with a demon!
Dress as a bride and maintain your exaggerated way of speaking.
Be about to do.
These words brought us
to our senses. We said nothing
to dampen the enthusiasm
of the crowd. We maintained
our spotless appearance
and secretly repented. Some of us
had strange dreams in which
the child came as a thief
but stayed to express various opinions
about alchemy. They gave him
a morning star destined to shine
in the East. He ruled them
with a rod of heated iron.
The little scamp left no traces behind
except that many of us reported
diarrhoea, insomnia, nausea and fatigue
immediately upon waking.
The combined efforts of the Leather and Velvet
Teams turned up 100 possible clues. That night
we lit 100 candles at the cable television
tower on the hilltop. After we examined
each clue under a microscope, Leather and
Velvet Leaders took turns blowing out
the candles--one per bit of hard evidence. When
we were in total darkness we heard a car door
slam. Velvet Leader expressed fear, anxiety,
anger and grief. In response team members expressed
boredom, irritation, greed, lust and a general
nostalgia for the days when everything appeared
good and within the control of the average man or woman.
A heavy rain began to fall; we passed
an uneasy night. Right before dawn we opened
the 4th Seal and the Beast said Come and See.
The Grand Dragon floated in the mist wearing a T-shirt
blazoned with these words: “The Little Force Balances
Between I and T Like An Egg On Salt Feet.”* He
appeared to be waiting to witness how passersby
would react to the head of the boy, who was
believed to have been strangled shortly
after he disappeared on May 24.
We all ran quickly
and with one mighty effort
erased his name from a modest book.
The Great Dragon was at a loss when suddenly
we asked him to make a speech. Because his voice
was drowned out by the bleatings of a Lamb
he frequently made mistakes. Velvet Leader took many
polaroid snapshots of his effort and threw them into a fire.
The smoke of his torment ascended up for ever and ever,
however much we applauded his fighting spirit.
* The key used to construct this text.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The