Academic journal article Chicago Review

Zen and the Art of Carpet-Beating

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Zen and the Art of Carpet-Beating

Article excerpt

Best of all were the ones from China, with the short fuse, in silver foil colorful as a dragon in a New Year's Day parade: no flash, but a huge bang.

For those little wonders we used to drive specially to Chinatown, put them gingerly in the briefcase, as if they had hearts

made of Semtex, and go back to Berkeley with the hope that this was an approach to life, straightforward, unpretentious. Throughout the whole of Advent

we had a ball, Tristan came within an inch of having his hand blown off, and when the firecrackers ran out we fired Moet et Chandon corks we threw the bones of eaten animals and finally dried-up condoms

(that too is an approach to life) and it was not until Epiphany

that we resorted to the baubles from Christmas trees. A dry, colorless crack

faint glimmers of the lights of a lantern the magic aura of satisfaction

of the girls from the Kirke farm who had been fucked. Here things are different, more pious though the truth is still measured in carp

and money and power are presaged by the Christmas wafer: here fictions are born more regularly

in ostensible accord with the menstrual cycle

of an unironized nature, into the rhythm of supplies from the big stadium on the east bank of the Vistula: an explosion-and daybreak, radioactive as the gaze of animals from the Chernobyl region. …

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