You can move a building with a truck but you cannot send it in the mail. You should let it lean against a tree, a tree will grow straight and without guile. You should shine a few lights on the building at night, buildings are afraid of the dark and then they cannot fall asleep. Shine some of the light through the tree, so that it can talk to the building in Morse code when there’s wind. Buildings like rills, but don’t have a moat unless you put fish in it, the leaves of the tree can fall on the water and pretend they’re boats, it makes the building smile. Don’t paint the building, leave the concrete, let the building dance in its bones. Maybe build it on tall pillars so that it can look out over the city. Bolt a receiver to it so that it can listen to the radio. Leave books for it to read. Frame its architectural plans and hang it on one of the walls so that it will remember how it was born. Hang a Bauhaus tapestry for warmth and remembrance. Bring food into it so that it can smell the courier font of the recipes. Let it have a black cat with white socks to prowl its corridors at night. Talk to the building, sit on its roof. Let cars come to it, and people, otherwise it will be a prison, looking at the street with its windows the way a dog alone in a yard will look through a gate, otherwise the walls will become permeated with a specific and detailed kind of grief. If you leave it, it will grow sarcophagi and crypts and die like a vagrant on the sidewalk. I don’t want to leave, but it’s already left. God help us all. But the building cannot think of the right thing to say. Who lives in this building? Who looks at its indigent lines and looks away. Who will unlock its door and tell it to come, listen to its stories and open a tin of peaches for its lintel? Remember: we are on the outside looking in. Don’t fool yourself, we cannot join. Carthage must be destroyed.
The building writes a letter inside one of its vents: I need to sleep so that I can dream dreams for my garden. So that I can dream of the star god Fu. The hooligan follies need three more of the seventy seven shapes of gourds. The piazza needs a fire. It is too cold. And love. Love to run through the fire and cry on the mezzanine with its burnt-sugar fingers. I need an orchard for the auditorium. Figs and apricots and polenta and breves. I need more time. And a new Mirò. A yellow one. It is too cold.
Waiting for fish
A Fortean event occurred in the city’s southern bypass and its mnemonic device failed when this caused a transformer to blow, seizing its xenophobic capacitor. The pale blue spaza shop stood there grinning like nobody’s business in the winter sun and all the women in the street started toyi-toying, lifting their children onto their shoulders to see. A Mexican wave of dry leaves circled the city for the rest of the day. How often do cupcakes and stray thoughts and tattoos of broken hearts fall inexplicably from the sky? As if a demented croupier with the voodoo blues started dealing party tricks from the bottom of the stack just before the boss arrived and fired his ass. The cupcakes bounced on the streets and on the corrugated roofs and on the minibuses and left bright specks of icing sugar in everybody’s hair. The stray thoughts disappeared as soon as they touched anything, leaving brief damp patches and the tattoos stuck indelibly wherever they landed. So what if you get a broken heart, somebody said. Now she doesn’t know what to do with it. It’s unlike anything she’s ever imagined, no amount of scratching is ever going to remove it. Something you lost years ago returned to you from the mouth of a fish and a marble Mary winked before she started to bleed from her El Greco hands. So beautiful. And she knew this. Strikhedonia: the pleasure of being able to say to hell with it.
Wilna Panagos’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in New Contrast Literary Journal, Gone Lawn, Otoliths, Museum Life , Medusa’s Laugh Press, Prick of the Spindle, The Undertow Review, Ditch Poetry, Psychopomp Magazine, Altpoetics, Hobo Camp Review. She wrote and illustrated a few children’s books and is currently writing something which may or may not turn out to be a short, odd novel. She believes in orange and pigeons, has an imaginary dog and lives in Pretoria, South Africa.
Her Facebook alter ego is here: www.facebook.com/mariahelena.havisham