The Silver Web page 48 & 49

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The Silver Web page 48 & 49

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"A Lesser Michaelangelo" fiction by T. Jackson King and "The Legend of Treat" poetry by Scott Keeney

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my writing table. Her pale white skin is not mapped with ridged scars like mine, nor blemished with brown burn spots, nor swollen with bruises blue, punctuate and linear. There are different stigmata upon her. Little spots about her belly, around each nipple, alongside her inner thighs, and down the runway of her inner forearms, where elbow unhinges its virgin mouth. Wordless, she stretches out her forearms, with palms open, and licks her rosy lips, awaiting my command. Hesitation steals upon me. For I do love her.
Looking beyond her into the darkness, I track the shadows moving upon the stone walls of my rounded room. They are quick as foxes, elusive, effervescent, and sly. Always, they seem just beyond my grasp. Just beyond the words that will capture them. But I have captured them in the past, and mortal man has ac­ claimed me. Has acclaimed my novels. I can do it again. I know it this night. This night of stone that lives.
As surely as lightning lives in notes unbound from the throat of flesh, so surely do words immortal spring forth from blood eternal.
"Hand me the pin-quill."
With a shaking hand she reaches to my simple clay pot, the one holding several writing quills. She takes the slendermost one, the quill pulled from a juvenile peacock. It is long, slender, pointed at the tip, and long since bereft of down or feather. She hands me the nearly translucent quill. Her fingers touch mine, briefly. We both shiver. Our skins coarsen to chill bumps familiar.
Opal eyes watch me. She does not need to be bound.
Her travail is different. Anyway, it would do no good to run screaming from my abode. She loves my words too much. "Now?" she asks, eager.
I smile. For the first time this night, I smile. "Now. Lay your arm atop my table. And clench your fist."
Docile as a newborn colt, she does so. After put­ ting the pin-quill against the pulsing blue vein that throbs with heart blood, I look up and watch her eyes. "Did I sing good for you?"
Shock fills her eyes. Her mouth moves open. I jam
the quill into her vein, then quickly move the pyrite ink well to its accustomed position just below the other end of the quill. Purple blood flows into my ink well, mixing strongly with soot, garnet dust, cobwebs, spi­ der flesh, and things best left unmentioned. "Oh! Oh. Ahhh," she moans, eyes closing with the ecstasy of pain, of release, of rushing blood that flows now out of her, flows forth into my ink well deep and wide and ancient. She denies that she orgasms at such moments, but I know better than to believe her. The brick-red rash that fills her chest, sweeping down to the swelling




The Silver Web


mounds of her breasts, is unmistakable to men who care to take instruction from women on how to please them in bed. The magnolia aroma of her completion fills the air between us.
The pin-quill is easily withdrawn and by the time I have finished wrapping gauze and a pad about her in­ ner arm, tying it with the deftness of long practice, the mature woman is back among the dark shadows, watch­ ing me, waiting, yearning for the glimpse of something she may not do. Just as I cannot compose her sympho­ nies, she cannot write for me. Leastwise, not the way I write.
"Do it, Michael. Do it."
Her words echo against the stone blocks of my tower room, a beehive chamber much resembling the burial tholi of ancient Mycenae. Its familiarity to some­ thing of home is one reason I consented to her choice of this place for our ... collaboration. There were other reasons too. Reasons she did not need to know. At least not until we began our delicate minuet, our raging against the barriers of time and space and ec­ static vision, insisting that dead time give us our due.
Standing up slowly, weak still, but moved by the
... singing ... to a sense of epiphany where I stand apart from merely mortal memories, apart from the cares of flesh that bleeds like all flesh, apart from the soul that cries and loves like most souls, apart even from her. For now the figure in the stone will awaken.
The shadows flicker away from me. This way. That way. Always they seek to escape me. But my quill full with blood and tomb dust and semen new cannot be denied. I am, after all, a writer.
One familiar shadow I pin against the stone wall. It shrieks. No mercy do I show.
The quill cuts away the stone. The figure struggles
forth from its imprisonment inside. Not fully free. Half unbound, half still imprisoned within the stone ancient. "Odysseus?" it moans, head thrown back, its eyes obsidian black, its wild gray mane of hair whipcord long, and its muscles thick and clenching as massive
hands push hard against castle walls enclosing.
Behind me, Eppie moans, her terror a wonder of song incarnate.
"No," I say to the figure. Flicking the quill, I cut away more stone, stone that curls away from limbs atlantean much as butter flees from the hot knife. I leave its ankles still encased in stone, though one leg is lame. "Guess again."
The figure's eyes blaze ember red, as red as blood, as pure with force primal as lightning unbound. "Michael Anchises Mendarus?"

I slap it across the face with my quill, leaving a scar upon its bearded cheek. It screams. It screams again. I do not care. A writer is above such things as pity, or remorse. "Fail me not again! You know me. Acknowledge me. Now!"
The figure flails at me with two arms huge, arms that could crush my mortal shell like ice breaking to a heavy tread. If not for the caress of my quill pen ... and long experience at evoking figures frozen in stone. All it takes are words. The right words. Then, even stone will yield to will immortal. After all, when you die, what is left but will?
"Michael!" screams Eppie, worried now as I tor­
ment the stone. This side of me she has little seen. She has great potential, but she has yet to learn the secret of words turned to stone, then brought back to life anew.
The figure stills its struggle against the stone en­
casing, red ember eyes resting briefly upon Eppie, then turning to me with the fierce glow of Hephaestus's forge.
"Homer."
Yes! The quill moves quickly, freeing my Achaean geas. Hephaestus moves past me toward Eppie, one lame leg thumping against the floor. I turn away and sit at my writing table. Dipping quill into the golden pyrite of my brimming full ink well, I begin to write.
"Offair Helen long years after the fall ofTroy, of
the time when her milky skin had grown lined and shriveled and shone not with the flush of youth, few have written. Hear now her story. A story of a temple songmaiden who listened too closely to the bronze sistrums of Olympus, and grew mad with her vision of music immortal."
Movement sounds behind me. For Eppie, there is no escape. For Hephaestus, there is the obligatory cou­ pling with my offering, its price for our new incarna­ tion.
She will survive it. As I have survived her purging
of my fleshly casement. As for my Achaean geas, a single flip of the satin curtain and sunlight pure and bright will turn my stone figure to smoky streamers, like the many that now streak the walls of my tholos. Ugly Hephaestus was ever the rude guest at Olympus, and reckoned not that writers could be as faithless as wives.
And of this night, this night of no moon, of youth turned aged as dusky shadows flee screaming across stone ancient and incarnate, I will write. I will write a novel of poetic song that will outshine even phoebean Apollo, he who shared with me his secret of words freed from stone. I will write the true successor to The

!Iliad and The Odyssey.
After all, few know the end of the story of fair
Helen.
Only the stone knows that in the end, in her old age when young men lusted after her not, she turned to a storytelling bard of Chios isle. A half-blind bard who knew the secret of will immortal.
So we continue.
She composes her lightning made music. I write my stories of figures freed from the stone.
And the world thinks us mad.









THE LEGEND OF TREAT


What am I to make of this La-la Land? Crickets seethe like lightbulbs.
Stapled to the sky with a sparkling,
what might be called my soul.
I have to laugh at the fountain tonight, toast a Bufo americanus- no, tomorrow. Mind and object are both
"buried in the fragrant hash of imitation." A precipice's falling. My neither eye!
I long to pacific shiny the pain
to see how everything cackles in light, "such a textbook." It's all so insignia,


so overflowingly meridian: this kingdom, though one trudges through its junkyards, pimples with the inspiration of poor health. The sky is more than everything to me.
The hums of distant cars gently hammer away at my brain like an unmentioned rose. When the wind blows I stick out my tongue and make silly faces. Is that a penny
rattling around in the left ventricle of my heart?
Soon I will imitate a sparrow, then a troll.


SCOTT KEENEY

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