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June 10, 2015 Fiction

Lists

Oliver Zarandi

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Tortoise

  1. The world’s oldest tortoise was called Tu'i Malila.
  2. Captain James Cook gifted Tu’i Malila to the royal family of Tonga in July 1777.
  3. The year the Marquis de Sade was arrested and imprisoned in the Vincennes Fortress.
  4. Also marked the death of Button Gwinnett.
  5. Consider: Malcolm X was 39 years old when he was assassinated.
  6. Captain James Cook was 50 years old when Hawaiian natives murdered him.
  7. My grandmother died when she was 83.
  8. Consider the ‘immature’ polyp.
  9. My first cat died when she was 10.
  10. Tu’i Malila died aged 188, which is older than all of the aforementioned subjects.    

 

Old

  1. He combed his hair, saw his scalp. Not in a house; in a restaurant toilet.
  2. A fear began to envelop his body. I’m old, he thought.
  3. The white of his eye was now actually a dull straw colour, like somebody had urinated in them.
  4. Just below the eyeball there was a black bag that resembled a fig.
  5. His teeth had separated. In his youth, he was complimented for his fine teeth.
  6. You could place a toothpick between each tooth; room to move.
  7. He took his clothes off and observed his nipples.
  8. Stay or leave? An indecision that went back to childhood made itself present here in the toilet.
  9. His eyes filled with tears and he balled up his fists.
  10. Looking over at the exit door, he thought of his father’s bald patch; how the sun caught it in such a way that it looked like its own little sun.

 

Weight

  1. Born by Cesarean section.
  2. Unconsciously yearning for a traditional birth of passing through a vagina?
  3. The inability to count, laughed at by children.
  4. Remarkably good at cutting out shapes, however.
  5. Leaving home: similar to a Cesarean section, he says.
  6. Started at 10lbs; a fat toddler; a skinny teenager; middling in his twenties; alcoholic in his thirties.
  7. Recurring dream: a mountain made of glass, fingers made of glass too.
  8. The women in his life: mother / Martha / Mildred / Madeline / Melissa / Margaret.
  9. The houses he lived in: bungalow / apartment / street / Harlem squat / Brownstone / tent.
  10. Ended life an indeterminate weight.

 

Poison

  1. Mental aberrations include: feeling ‘ants’ beneath the skin.
  2. Worms under the tongue, bugs, lice.
  3. Hearing voices, music, revolver shots, threats. The tearing off of clothes.
  4. Thus becoming an inventor, a martyr, a hero.
  5. Then: forgetfulness.
  6. Then: morning.
  7. Then: the year of 1897, in an opium den in Batavia.
  8. A stable-like room with bare flagstones as flooring, furnished with rows of low wooden bunks.
  9. Head supported by a small wooden block, a cushion.
  10. To combat the loss of appetite: the use of an aromatic powder, flavoured with galangal and ginger. Take only a pinch.

 

Parks

  1. The boy chased by herons by the faux Swiss chalet.
  2. The laughter of the elderly. The crumbs in the creases of their trousers.
  3. The creases of their trousers like hills. Pushing my face into their crotch.
  4. Grass only covers 40% of the park. The rest is considered ‘recreation area.’
  5. The jungle gym, knotted with children.
  6. White children, black children, red children, yellow children.
  7. The ducks that seemingly belong to the elderly are, in fact, adulterous.
  8. The ducks move to another group of people, to get their bread elsewhere.
  9. The children in the jungle gym; the elderly on the benches.
  10. Each bench a memorial to somebody older than the elderly.

 

Painter

  1. Ge Xiaoguang is now the official ‘author’ of Mao Zedong’s portrait at Tiananmen Gate.
  2. There have been others before him. There will be others after him.
  3. Due to weather conditions and pollution, Ge Xiaoguang must repaint this portrait.
  4. Other portraits used to hang in the square, but not anymore.
  5. Ge Xiaoguang knows the face of Mao better than he knows himself.
  6. When you look at light too long and afterwards, the light burns inside your own inner darkness.
  7. Does Mao burn inside Ge Xiaoguang’s inner darkness?
  8. Ge Xiaoguang insists the face changes: he likens the act of repainting like ‘reopening a door on history’.
  9. Think about the position of the painting, coordinating the painting with the atmosphere of Tiananmen Rostrum, the influence of light – in the square, in the mind.
  10. Will it be painted forever.

 

image: Pete Witte


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