In spring, when skies rode in on waves made by outbound freighters in the South China Sea, the wind couldn't keep up with jet stream thoughts and its penmanship suffered for it. Undotted i's and lazy J's. Whole portions X'd out by revisionist contrails. When the lonely grew ground-weary and stopped to read the skies, as they had done for centuries, they felt embarassed for the wind. Obviously its editor was on a lost weekend or the wind had drastically changed due to global warming or had been through an accident and its mental capacity diminished to that of a very
small child. How else could such drivel be published in our skies?
Sound silvers advances unpaid dead carrot dead parrot
Some longhairs used Jeff Koonsian hypnotism to advance their own abstract ideas in an attempt to ensure tenure by embracing the wind's new poetic direction.
Sound, as in the music of the spheres, of the world, the universe---the musicality of poetry, has aged, has brightened, yet advances ahead, always, a phalanax charge with the Word at lead pike, out front, sharp and bloody. Yet "advances" is also a play on words. Being paid by your publisher. A publishing advance. And this advance -- as so many of us know in the publishing business (nervous laughter) -- is always unpaid (loud laughter). With this realization the wind compares chasing money to chasing a dead carrot dangling from a stick. The wind is letting us know that no longer are its musings for free. No longer is it going to be society's parrot, no longer is it going to echo what it hears rise up from below in order to be liked by us. This is a declaration. Of war, of art. A rich man choosing to be become a beggar. Here's to the wind and it's lonely journey!
Others theorized that aerosols had burned holes in the wind's brain like ecstasy, that if the Kyoto Protocol had been followed to the letter and the wind had been pulled off the dance floor, we would not be here now.
Others felt like this was a side effect from years of secretly laying down chemtrails in the upper atmosphere, that spraying so much electrically-coductive barium in order to create temporary hundred-miles-long antennae overhead to manipulate weather patterns and mass populations with propaganda earworms had charged the language centers of the wind's brain and completely fried them. Some called it the wind's Syd Barrett Period, or The Furthuring.
Another outsider opinion gaining traction was from the spiritualists: they believed that nothing electric dies, it merely changes form. They believed our atmosphere is filled with dead thoughts, like a multiversal bathtub filled with a bubble bath of universes. Except the spiritualists envisioned 45 records floating all around us. With one lightning strike in the atmosphere, the bolt would come down, slip into the groove of one these 45s and begin to play it again for us. They said that what we were really seeing in the sky above us was the unpublished musings of the goat-footed balloonman, ee cummings.
Other literary obscurists called for the house arrest of Minou Drouet. They claimed that she was seeking revenge on the publishing world for wrongfully exposing her as a poet-prodigy hoaxster, that she had teamed up with a powerful entity (possibly the Russians) to manipulate the skies with her old precocious wonderment and sadness.
Others were sure that the wind had been hijacked by a North Korean algorithm, that these were Tokyo Rose-type broadcasts based on the reverse engineering of Alan Turing's Enigma machine, combined with Edward Learian nonsense rhymes and the Voynich Manuscript's chicanery. It was said by some that if one were to map the wind patterns the ultimate secret for tyrannical crowd control was in its computational fluid dynamics. People were instructed to report any suspicious activity connected to sky-reading to Homeland Security.
But, after all these theories were discussed, the handwriting analysts' claim seemed strongest. They determined that in the skies overhead, spelled out in the clouds, was the handwriting of someone severely depressed. Curls flattened, letters scrunched together, no flourish, lifeless, all the words coiling tighter and tighter, a flock of agoraphobiacs descending down a spiral staircase, inward, toward a miniature black hole --- a singularity so dense that no light or joy could ever intrude its dark jail cell.
When the wind blew, I thought of Van Gogh in a farmer's field twirling his paintbrush in his mouth to form a point, tongue filling his mind with poison, yet emptying so much life onto canvasses that none remained at the end of day. Only a bullethole for a heart, slowly leaking its love for his brother. Only the stillness of the air, the brightness of the stars, the hot sting of tears quietly saying goodbye.
No words left in the skies to confuse my loneliness or footsteps, I listened to the distant peal of church bells, the running of water down storm drains, the vivid throats of gardens, opening, drinking deep, waiting to be cut.
Ron Gibson Jr.
Ron Gibson, Jr. has previously appeared in Stockholm Review of Literature, Cheap Pop, New South Journal, Jellyfish Review, Whiskeypaper, The Bohemyth, Easy Street, Noble / Gas Quarterly, Harpoon Review, Spelk Fiction, Entropy Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, etc... forthcoming at (b)oink, Heavy Feather Review, Moonglasses Magazine, apt, Unbroken Journal & Glove Lit Zine @sirabsurd