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Robichaud & Turissini – May.14

Alex Robichaud and Evan Turissini traded art and words. Alex shared this untitled photograph with Evan:

In response, Evan wrote this poem:

Altered W

In days not filled with lavish street parades,
with stray balloon giraffes and other beasts
to roam the avenue in search of Serengeti grass,
Nana had sung her tra-la-las as she swept
waiting for the day to blend black into the Ozark hills.

Her tip-toe dance steps alternated with constricted
chest-heaves, doubly paced to the pops
of the record player. She adored Fred Astaire—

her statue looked like Ginger Baker, but
the metal slowly warped with time, bending the letters
of her inscription until the became illegible
hieroglyphs on the door to her mausoleum.

In days not filled with lavish street parades,
when tallest men on stilts teeter through town,
Nana sat in her favorite chair, with her favorite ice tea,
dabbing at her fingertips with a white handkerchief.

* * * * *

Evan shared this poem with Alex:

A Poem About Flowers

A nurse enters with two buckets of severed limbs.
She dumps one into the trough,
keeps the other.

Akem Manah and Vohu Manah sit
in a basement, counting
the flickers of the fluorescent lights.
Both check their watch.

The tendrils of a light white thread pull her down
deeper, submerging her in the last living
souls yet to be ferried across by
the servant and valet of King Xerxes,
who stands atop his dinghy
wildly conduction a rousing chorus of
Psychopomp and Circumstance.

If the rose were to bloom today, today,
she’d scream from the center of the Fibonacci petals,
wasting her last breaths
on artistic license.

I once rode the elevator at the Calcasieu Courthouse
with Linda Blair; she held the door for me
when I got on at the third floor.

The water tastes of spilt milk and curdled tears,
notes Dr. Mandelbrot, sketching the gradual
inclination of entropy towards the empty dark matter
beyond the river. Whistled notes to
“Ring a Ring o’ Roses” ring out over the water,
but do not echo.

The severed limbs have satiated
and pleased Charon.
No one else will suffer immortality today.

Vohu Manah crosses the River Styx, waving
his arms in outdated symbols in front of him
to ward off chthonic zombies,
and none come.

The mutants are to be quelled;
Limbs shackled, splayed out
on the operating table and
unseamed by their ideals.
Our meal today is an identical lunch
of a tuna fish sandwich
on wheat toast with butter and lettuce,
no mayo,
and a cup of soup or glass of buttermilk.

She is strung up from the shower rod by her feet
like a slaughterhouse pig,
blood scrambling her brain and leaking
out her troubled eyelids. She has lost all phantom
feeling in her hands, her arms
truncated at the elbows.

At the touch of the fork, the skin of her
thigh withers and grows cold.
Charon sends his compliments
to the chef.

The sewing machine spews and spews
with industrial furor. The force of the shank
drives the point through its paces at even intervals,
filling the near empty room with infernal punches
synchronized with the dying fluorescent bulbs that
line the walls. It is now evening.

She has now entered halfway between the worlds.
Vohu and Akem Manah share a bucket
over a candlelit dinner. The two place their napkins on their laps
as to not ruin their brand new suits.

The patient dreams of only seashells, seashells.
When Doctor Mandelbrot pricks her arm, the fractal
iterates further and further, removing the minor user
error from the clockwork.

Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood,
you sure are looking good.
You’re everything a Big Bad Wolf could want.
Akem Manah licks the blood
off her budding opus.

The old man in a hospital gown, open
in the back, distractedly hands her a dandelion
before returning to the far wing.

With all his tensile force,
Vohu Manah stretches her tight,
tight until
she stands with the proper Victorian posture
to wait before Xerxes’ judgment.

Charon slowly cups a mandible with each hand,
and pulls until he has turned himself inside out.
He sits cross-legged Tiananmen Square, offering
cigarettes to tourists.

By the order and decree of King Xerxes the Great,
son of Darius the Great,
shall Birnam Wood come to

Mandlebrot ascends the stairs,
tapping every third baluster
with a wooden ruler.

Akem Manah breaks the surface
of the River Styx, heaving a large
reserve of air before the murky chasms
engulf his gluttoned torso
a second time. His face is blanched
with serenity.

Manah and Manah place their buckets
at the foot of the doorjamb and
consult Mandelbrot’s charts. The bloody
handprint on the transom indicates
the procedure has performed poorly.

She is faceless.
She is voiceless.
She is motionless.
She is mindless.
Her fingerprints have been scraped away
by the appliances of mad hatters and
bacchic slaves. She is
shifted forward on a conveyor belt,
the last juror in the Calcasieu Courthouse
who sentenced Xerxes, King of Kings,
to mortality,
on an open summer evening.

In response, Alex made this photograph, entitled “Limbs”:


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