Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 21
Spring, 2016

Featured painting, Unnamed (detail) by MANDEM.

New Works

A Riding

Only Lovers Left Alive
Prelude to Begotten

Setting: After everything else, even the souls of Babies are stolen from God in the inimical divorce with the Church. Morose, God seeks to offend those that misplace their faith in religions by perpetually reforming the lover/son out of fetal tissue. There God sits on the throne, shoulders hunched and legs bent and open, clutching a needle and a corpse, sewing swatches of placenta; there God sits on the throne: a narrow mountain of abortions, a spire, piercing the sky, in the alley behind the Planned Parenthood.

Because you died, and I love you, I began to assemble you out of abortions. And their unformed thoughts and ideas ... the not-brought-to-term ideas of the fetus. I give them into you: Are you a boy or a girl? Can you create something you can't? Does life begin at conception ... of a thought ... about what you might be? I need one more middleman to muddy the water with these half-baked turds and it's going to be you ... who will be convinced that important matters can be expressed with language ... that would take a miracle worker ... look, I'm going to give you whatever you need ... in return, you will be one more of my beautiful Chosen Ones. You will hold back progress until we get some answers ... things are moving too fast ... Oh, my baby, anything, I'll give you anything, here, what would you like ...? flight, invisibility, or transmutation of substances with a focus on food. Really? You really will be such a good person, I'm crying for you, you whom I have to create — to give my love to ... to tire of, to look beyond ... I'm sorry I will look beyond you ... wishing for someone smarter to relate to. Someone I will never create, because I am always held up, creating you. I put my cart before my cart and hitch it. Your little tears leave a streak of mold on your pastiche of a face. It's nothing. Go ahead and cry about being given life. You rot all the time anyway — this is nature's fault. I work night and day, but you putrefy faster. Faster than I can carve you, faster than I can mold you, hook you, stretch you, sew you. Faster than I can promise to love you forever, and never leave you, and never leave you. If only I have time away from fixing you to defeat death ... to put nature in its place for all the crimes it committed to pay me back for creating it. Sighing, and looking away ... into a mirror. I stare deeply into my eyes ... and tear out a rib and throw it into some wine to marinate with the others.

Please hurry! Hurry up and be made by me! The last one is already done! You are already done! Done in! I need you!

Because you died and died again. And I love you. I began to assemble you out of abortions. I need you. I need one more sweet baby, God made flesh, made of baby flesh, I need one more ... son of men ... to turn — and it's you — skewered on the spit of semantics, trying to make sense of what I did, reasoning in circles, naming everything, categorizing everything, seeing a forest!
I have never seen a forest, only individuals, in semi-concert.
Or is that trivial? To you? Or only ... impractical?

A garden fell around me. A mouth opened. Something ate something. The stench of shit. Suddenly, you were there. Falling apart in my hands.
My lover; if you did anything, anything at all: it would be a miracle.
And with a swoop, nature reclaimed you.
A worm rose into the sky.

Once I made you out of dog erections with no fat.

I shook. I shake.

That nature is my enemy; how deliriously miserable and deeply wallowed in love am I; in the love of my enemy — tear-stained and rutting in the mud with the hogs who I should have chosen to rule the world instead — and I shall never stop loving my enemy for my enemy has made my task endless, impossible.
Never shall I not want!
Never shall I satisfy!
Never shall I answer without setting something on fire!
I could, but why should I create something I cannot imagine? To fix something?
Does it occur to me that there has never been a moment when anything is wrong?
I will tell you right now, I don't know what balance is, I don't know what good is, and I'm not certain if I even think in terms of quality or intensity. It's like that.
I need some help. From what I cannot imagine.
I would pray but ... my hands are never idle ... I cannot be torn from the menial tasks diverting me from my true purpose ... from living up to myself. If there is no father before me from whence formed the expectations? Did I beat myself with a stick when I was young. Yes I did.
I create the universe but creation takes an eternity and so it comes to pass that nothing ever existed. Never mind. But I mean. That's how it is. Eternity, not six days, but can be folded. Existed. Not rested. Quantum Physics.
That's the definition. If I say it is.
Do you buy that?
Is it absolute for you?
Absolute word.
Or: can I create a concept I am only gradually coming to terms with?
I can't finish making you, Love, I give you my absolute word. No more than I can finish stitching closed the love Death dissolves between my fingers. Sometimes the cycle of life seems like maintenance, nothing is getting into better shape. The world will never be ready to wear its bikini. Even with the summers getting hotter.
And I'm working and I'm working. I'm building you, Love, or at least, I'm maintaining you ... although already I've begun to suspect that the You I'm building (and will never cease building) never existed. I've turned your portrait to the wall, the one where you are inching out of your hole. I don't care, I don't care, it doesn't matter (anyway, what chance is there, if you had lived — I would have become bored) and although I know I can never replace you — that the only comfort lies in embracing this hopeless, perpetual labor, I remain hopeful, hopefully constantly replacing you, and as such — as hope is a disturbing disease, as hope is a cancer on the present, that replaces action towards the attainable with pointless action towards the trivial disguised under a golden crown — all hopeful perpetual labor reveals itself in paradox as ludicrous cyclical drudgery. I know. It's bad, right? You are frozen, my Love, in the future: a fixed image, nothing but hopes of your development, piles of them, deepening, mounting, and yet I am ecstatic — thank you for dying — swooning before the alchemical promise that stews inside these trash heaps of embryonic flesh, constantly available for replenishment (obviously, for they breed and breed and sew and then some unsew. And by unsew I mean: vacuum ... and toss out). I draw them together in my embrace.

There God sits on the throne, shoulders hunched and legs bent and open, clutching a needle and a corpse, sewing swatches of placenta; there God sits on the throne: a narrow mountain of abortions, a spire, piercing the sky, in the alley behind the Planned Parenthood.

Growing, developing and decaying, swelling, churning.
From your pile of infant parts, you are eliminated from this infirm terrain of mortal procrastination, from the banal cycle of rebirth, of hope, so when you are finally created, even though everything about you is cyclical failure, never meeting life, having been under the sun but never having been squeezed out under the sun, consumed at the porthole God opens ... you will be a lack of being, and even everything you fail to amount to is vicious, hopeless, a resigned substance, not quite a thing, if it still claws frantically, if it could, this would only be the scrambling of some putrefacted hereditary trait, nascent instinct jiggling in the mound of discarded bloodlines. Either that, or nice and open: a wormhole. The same would have been achieved had I done nothing. You're welcome.
Sometimes, when I am stringing my placentas together, mushing and squeezing my fetuses into some corporeal gelatin, I can hear the memory of your womb (and its promise) rise and fall like the sea in my ear ... imagine an ocean of fatal couplings, babies dying, preemies undead or nonliving, sinking into the vacuum of sounds with the water's recess diminishing forever; it's Zeno, getting his licks in, shitting in the mouths of philosophers for all time; when they chomp for it, he sucks it back in; always lessening, never lessening, babies becoming smaller, remaining frozen and exact, as potential that precedes existence, eggs and semen washing against a barren, rotting shore.

To honor your memory, this has nothing to do with you anymore, but I swear you will be the whole of my focus and my love until the moment I die when perhaps none of this matters anymore — but that's so intangible! again, so I don't care ... for now, here and now, where I'm ecstatic, I'm using you, a weapon, I'm creating a weapon, of you, of the memory (though false) of you, my Love, a noose of twined umbilical cords, squeezing the life and the language out of the throat of the world, a sculptural offal of replication, a weapon, a weapon of fetal tissue set to destroy all reincarnation and all the heavens, which are but symptoms of that disease called hope that reduces the minds of the living to taciturn, unquestioning lumps of hopeful flesh, flesh that bows, and bows in the wrong direction, supplicating into the assholes of a few Posterboys dreamed up by admen who get cheerleaders to lead everyone in singing their products' jingles ... and add some drama to the development of my embryos ... I still had them when they were young ... and now.... Now these pigfuckers say, Even they — Even the babies are born bad. Growing big but never developing, being bad. Praying. Never changing, praying, in sickness, being bad. Feeling bad, waiting for the next life cycle to start trying to be happy. Being bad. In hope. Confusing being happy with being important. Being bad. Waiting for the next life cycle, where they hope they will finally appear as a president or a mass murderer. Waiting for the previous life cycle — even better, waiting on the past, escalating the disease of hope into the disease of certainty, affirming the past, certain they were a Cleopatra ovum instead of a Prole ovum ... back then, back then — when they were piously super-important.
I sit next to them in the other rocking chair, their God, sewing my lover out of preemies. How do you like me now?
When they ask me why I've forsaken them — Pretty fundamental. It's just that I haven't gotten over my last relationship.

I smear your crumbling dust together with the oil from my perspiring palms. My Love, because I love you. I will drip you down into some hapless surrogate. And turn you into my son. For a time the whole earth will resemble the games we played in the bedroom. Until your resurrection lifts you back to me ... into my arms.
For a long time nothing can be heard except the scrackling of two bristling beards, traversing each other.
The lovers lie in the dark.
I have already died. I have died and my enemy will eat me. You will try to sew me together, but it will eat me, as it ate you and ate you, it will eat me. Nature will eat me. This is my dream. From death. Total annihilation of the possible. Of the future. It's only a dream. Even though we passed each other in the night from death to life, and vice versa, thank you for standing behind me with that bolt of lightning and encouraging me to fulfill my dream. Every dream should be realized, between two lovers. Between two lovers. I say this with total understanding, Love, having only ever experienced nightmares, I can speak for everyone. Put your resurrected hand on my shoulder, put your stain on it ... the blood will mildew; I've already lost interest ... and looked away....

Aria Riding is a name now used by several writers of different genders, persuasions, mental health states, and ethnic backgrounds as a solidarity project. Through this experiment, she is trying to write a more complete author. Recent publications include Gargoyle Magazine, Atticus Books, The Adirondack Review etc.

A. Riding is the author of The Exhibitionists, a series of interconnected triggers, or stories about the unspeakable present: the things we suppress, and continue to do while denying that we do them.

Riding never goes out, is never seen, but her emissaries run Psychomachia Theater, a fringe space showcasing underrepresented/innovative arts/performance/letters (Seattle) and the dissident art/performance/butoh group Danse Perdue.