Magnetic Circles

January 14, 2007 at 5:23 pm (Surrealist Anthology)

 Erich Cohn


Everywhere there was the rushing sound of temple monkeys darting in and out of blue waterfalls. That was just before the stone walls collapsed, leaving young women defenseless in fields of thick bamboo. The postman was not due before 3 o’clock yet the streetcars were already circling past on their way to the circus. Rope ladders hung down from the attic windows where airline attendants were reading Japanese romances. Thin girls in tie-dyed t-shirts skated down the cobblestone streets handing out cards with holograms of the Buddha. They waved at the postman who has stopped to eat the tender blue artichokes growing in the stream beneath the sunken antique bridge.

She was still quite aloof even though office workers in burgundy suits had spent days trying to climb the translucent walls of glass. Debussy was walking the streets searching for carnival tickets ignoring the words of Indian teachers who rested calmly beneath the gray and blue traffic signs. Now that Jerusalem has once again fallen under the horizon, the flocks of dispersed songbirds will need new gardens. We can no longer depend on the prayers of dolphins to lead us to invisible cities, nor can the white girls chanting vodoun spells be counted on to pause for tea and biscuits when the public television station comes on. Still, if we only knew the size of Japanese pebbles necessary to create ponds for white chrysanthemums, we could send out for new windowpanes and shutters. Politicians are sending invitations to the funeral of the Sun. I am desperately in love, but can never find postage stamps when I need them.

The policemen are asleep now, but the children are careful not to untie their shoes. Dusk sweeps the city like a solemn river, and the rooftops resign themselves to an incomplete astrology. Boats depart for small towns upriver on the Amazon. I stay at the hotel desk registering guests ignoring what appears to be a hurricane coming in from the shore. Mexican soldiers play cards in the bar under the ceiling fan, while blue herons rest quietly in the thick green leaves of the mangrove trees. She steps out of the shower playing the flute. I notice all the windows are open and the monsoon rains are cleaning out the dusty corners of the empty Victorian ballrooms. I am writing postcards constantly, but there are still no stamps.

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