The Dearth of the Author

Police sirens speed down the streets of Post-America, and through the myriad apertures that have long ago replaced windows-through keyholes and cameras, through the slit of the stapler, the ski mask, the piano wire, through a man’s fingers splayed forcefully over the eyes-flashing red or blue or white strobes riding efficiently in the air. The sirens are disconnected, ghostly, without chassis below. This is peephole ontology. Everything moves so fast that it can jump through the playback machine like the Pullman car sliding effortlessly from its outmoded groove. Sloe-gin can be administered for relief of cold sores and implementation of the viral record. Sloe-motion, solely for effect.

That is, into a burst of regular speed.

Through the slats of tomorrow’s newspaper and virtual inkpad clipped with the absent scissors and censored by dark marker, through the piles of fast-food excrement and leftover sweat from the anus of basketball stars, through the splice of the dumpster roof against its casing, through the walls of the alley mashed by ubiquitous astigmatisms into the illusion of ovals-I can see the sirens and its coterie of flash, cleaving the grim partition of the night as it slides over the streets, intent upon the corner of a chafing mouth rotten with sores, or a thin slice of jaundiced skin slowly healing like a crack in the ice from a sharp skate, on the surface or the lip of a patriotic national face.

Through the perspective of an alley, Davis Schneiderman’s penis is shrinking everyday. In time, it will disappear into the space between his legs. In Post-America he serves time for sins committed by the interlocking appendages and orifices now filled-in by his so-called neat-and-tidies. No one believes his protestations. Asymptotic differences are eliminated with the alchemical formula of a bathtub philosopher’s stone. Do not believe him when he proclaims your innocence. Partisans tear the clothing from the body of the factory and observatory squeaking backward to Quark generation points only 800 million years on the brink of the big-bang precipice. The next step is to tattoo the patterns formed by the charges igniting tiny receptor nodes in the bandoleer onto the skin in a pain-ritual reminiscent of the calculation continuum of the Etruscan calendar, a 10,000-year cycle only now reaching a pre-apocalyptic fruition. Yes, a fantastic moment, seeing yourself in the author’s place. It starts in the gut, as described, but life is nothing before expulsion through the mouth, having smothered the tongue and teeth, covering everything in a veneer of broken promises and industrial sludge, just as today, in Post-America, it is difficult to substantiate the most enormous historical events let alone the tiniest death throes of a no-good collaborator. The idea of the past is an amalgamation of the present perceptive apparatus and the projected need of the future. Alternative pasts fail to promote alternative futures so long as the present apparatus remains in control of all projections. The police, my friends, can reach back into your womb for their evidence, pushing scissors and knife through the sweet gash of vagina stretching to the limits of breath and gene. They will cut the child from the aperture without a warrant, brand their indentations onto the soft, spattering skull of the prison-house, the garret, the sideward glance of the video camera that is always recording itself for a cum-shot. Space crackles with a pulsing electric energy-reason enough, for those still in the slit, to fear for their eventual shape.

Davis Schneiderman is Chair of the American Studies Program and an Assistant Professor of English at Lake Forest College. His creative work has accepted by numerous journals including Fiction International, The Iowa Review Web, Clackamas Literary Review, Exquisite Corpse, Diagram, 3rd Bed, Diagram, Quarter After Eight, The Little Magazine, Gargoyle, and Happy. He is co-editor of the forthcoming critical collection Retaking the Universe: William S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization (Pluto Press, 2004). Dr. Schneiderman is currently co-editing an anthology on contemporary uses of the Surrealist Exquisite Corpse, as well as co-editing the new literary journal Potion.