Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 11
Summer, 2013
guest edited by Yarrow Paisley

Featured painting, ©2013 by Pd Lietz :

Featured Excerpt
Short Prose
Very Short Prose

Alex S Johnson

Happy Puppy Mask

It was easy to see why he wore the happy puppy mask. When viewed through the peepholes in the mask, his eyes looked wonderfully tender, their brown hues enhanced with just a trace of amber highlights. Strangely enough, when he wore the mask a sweet perfume radiated from his body, similar to frangipani or a concentrated essence of opium. At first the mask merely served to hide his features, which were not unattractive to begin with; however, over time, even his closest friends began to forget what he used to look like, and imagined hideous and dreadful things lurking beneath, despite the tendrils of enchanting scent that hung in the air up to three feet (but no more) above his head. In response to these reactions, he internalized his own sinister constructions, and began to fear what would happen should he remove the mask. Several possibilities occurred to him: one, that his original face had retroactively styled itself as a darker take on the myth of Atlantis; two, that his face had taken on the contours of the happy puppy mask, rendering the mask gratuitous and himself subject to an interrogation by members of a task force on identity still in the larval stage; three, that his so-called “real” face belonged among the archives of a future civilization and that the happy puppy mask would be recognized, if at all, as an extremely clever reality hack. His body had meanwhile curled into a narcotic wisp, and his canine traces hung on a hatrack next to his bed and nightstand, accessible only as a read-only file that formed a demonic carapace around the viewer.

An Architect of Ruins

The tendency of the age being simultaneous, Dr. Mach used blueprints that could be read in up to five dimensional spaces at a time, or hacked down to a two-dimensional layer for easy visual dominance. The tyranny of constructed forms was over, and in racking his brains for deployment in akashic wars, he accidentally discovered the principles of unconstruction. It was easier, however, to simply label these principles according to the stereotypes of degradation and decay, the ephemeral eroticism of butterfly operas to come, and exaggerated stages of violet mist on which depended new horizons for theater. It was inconceivable to Dr. Mach that from this point forward anything would, or could be, seeded from the ground up, or mired in anything so simplistic as a foundation. Designing backwards, forwards and skew, he elaborated stunningly eccentric geometry that anchored his buildings to a platform accessible by the chattering elves of DMT matrices as well as the more prosaic Brownies that had long adhered to organic material. Adding the proverbial cherry to the bone-dry literalism of the cake itself, he invited visitors to embark upon a course of instruction that would eventuate in his students themselves becoming buildings, or sketches, or noodlings, preparatory to field work in the hooked, oozing brain-plant of everybody’s cafeteria, their roots dug deep in astral soil, as liquid hieroglyphics unwrote them forever.

The Learned Drive

The learned drive guitars of optimistic gator green, their metallic slut drives fed a mystery hallucinogen, frequently petted by soft dribbles of cancer. A lyrical religiosity born of vaporized mannerisms injects them with cool rays. A nursery of hammers hatched of monstrous spankings with a crystal glove cradles their puzzles with groves of wet organ meat. They wait for tracks, wheels that dig the soil that yawns, tricorner prisms that collapse in subtle dialectic trance: a delicious jumpstart for horns of undead.

A Brief History of Freezing Motion
(with a nod to André Breton)

Inevitably they snapped, their fragile bodies laced with the strategic strips of blue neon once carved with an inexorable symmetry from the loose limbs of a rapidly-diffused stellar cherry. Vectors of enhanced martini flow like the funny papers of winter to a shocking void beheld in the dazzling sparkle of fairy forms, reposed except for their breasts. A series of words chosen in raw rubber form the roaring mouth of cemeteries, their sublimated silence thick as Venusian fruit. Three clear drops of unrest signify the dismal eye, candy-colored and intended as a modular wet dream, or highly personalized crater. A large wooden spoon, labeled ‘heliotropic avatar,’ blends its abrupt trapeze act with the ferocity of diamonds. Global rescue teams inaugurate weird hells at the bottom of her coffee cup, hebephrenic formulas postulated as an exterior necessity.

Phantom of Love

The phantom of love is also, at the same time and by the same measure, an arsenal of dangerous keys; one rapidly hatches out their crafty confessions first documented in witch-laden alleys and burned into the universal retina with special effects. The subsequent mutations have been a sore point for the city fathers, who without success have implanted invisible stitches in the razored elements of dawn, creating an ingenious prototype the long-term effects of which cannot be too finely calibrated. This sense of notable paradox—the lamb bleeding the wolf with fabricated rapture—suggests our devotion to the rum of Eris, the impulsive thread of Golem, extreme labyrinths that make the ideal of the true Papal Helmet visible through an offstage mirror, the off-hand insertion blinded by a cloud of three animals, and a cluster of kinetic rocks, straining within and against themselves for the lost note of harmony.

Alex S. Johnson is the author of The Death Jazz, The Doom Hippies and Dr. Flesh; his journalism, short fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as Metal Hammer, Imperial Youth Review and The Surreal Grotesque. He is responsible for hundreds of articles on heavy metal, horror and assorted imps of the perverse, has been known to teach college English, and edits and publishes The Shwibly magazine. He also has four new chapbooks: Matador of Mirrors (Lucid Play Publishing), Doctor Flesh, Satanic Rites of the Nuns of St. Sophia and Black Tongues of the Illuminati (Dynatox Ministries). He currently resides in Sacramento, California.