The Three Kings, a Christmas story by Dennis Danvers

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“The Three Kings are all sharp dressers. They share a passion for boots crafted from rare and exotic species. They travel to Texas to have them made.”

The Three Kings, a Christmas story by Dennis Danvers

Detail from: “Mary and Child, surrounded by angels”, Ravennate italian-byzantine mosaic

THE THREE KINGS ARE hanging out by the pool just before Christmas at a get-together of kings, presidents, and the like about the future of the planet. There’s sand and oil money everywhere you look, and not too distant, the crashing of surf. The Three Kings, because they are kings, are much more used to being listened to than listening to others, and find the whole business tedious, so they’ve decided to have a seasonal cocktail and chat about family and travel and shopping just like ordinary people.

King One is idly considering invading King Two’s outlying provinces, but King Two isn’t particularly worried because he controls the airspace in the region with the generous assistance of the most powerful nation on earth—whoever that happens to be at the time—whoever has the best hardware is a reliable measure.

King Three could care less about his fellow kings’ pushing and shoving. He’s waiting to hear the results of a coup d’etat back home to know if he even has a kingdom. It’s not looking good. He’s not concerned about it personally. Life will go on. Like all the Three Kings he has amassed tremendous wealth, property all over the world. Still, to lose one’s kingdom can hurt a king’s feelings. Has he been that bad? Read more »

Weird Pairings, Huxley + Cezannne

Weird Pairings Huxley_Cezanne

About the Quote: This delicious quote is from The Doors of Perception (from which the rock band took their name), a non-fiction book that records Huxley’s experiences while taking peyote in a controlled setting, and his subsequent meditations on the nature of reality and human perception. In two sentences, Huxley manages to convincingly blur the lines between reality and art, plus skewer our fondly held notions of fixed identity. Huxley saw that we all just slip into ourselves the way we pull on a suit of clothes. Though few of us wish to be seen in public without these very human props, the truth of our natures lies at least partially obscured beneath.

About the Image:  This photograph of the French painter Paul Cezanne was taken in 1861. The intensity of his eyes and the slight smile on his face seem to indicate both seriousness and an understanding of the grand metaphysical joke: we are what we are, and we are much more than we are. There is no way on earth to avoid the absurd dichotomy. We must put on the suit of our identity and play our part to the hilt.

Want More? Aldous Huxley was an influential twentieth century writer of humanistic, utopian and dystopian science fiction, satire, screenplays and non-fiction. He was also an outspoken pacifist who studied meditation and mysticism. His books remain as relevant and radical today as when they were written. Other notable works include Brave New World, Eyeless in Gaza, and Island.

Bonus Quote: “Nobody needs to go anywhere else. We are all, if we only knew it, already there.”

 

Gingko, Pigeon, Light: A Fable, fiction by M.C. Boyes

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“It’s not like the bird has a key.”

Ginko, Pigeon, Light: A Fable, by M.C. Boyes

Pigeon Pacing by Paul Simpson, published under Creative Commons License.

A MAN AND A WOMAN PLAN to marry. In anticipation of their union they purchase a house in the historic district of their small southern city. The house is white with lovely woodwork that has been neglected and high ceilings that have cracked over time. The man and the woman leave their condo in the suburbs and move into their newly acquired house.

The woman, who is very tall, loves the high ceilings. As the man unpacks their belongings, she drifts through rooms tracing rivers of cracks in the air. “How I ever lived without these,” she says dreamily, “I don’t know.” The man wonders if it is the cracks she loves, or the ceilings. Though it is summer, the man frets about the how the ceilings will keep in the heat. He also worries about the cracks—there are so many, they are so wide.

The front yard of the man and woman’s new house is very small and contains two boxwoods, two azaleas and one gingko tree. Since the woman works long hours as a chef and the man will be spending most of his time—when he is not working at the university library—renovating the house, the postage-stamp-sized yard seems like a good thing.

 

IN THE FALL, the gingko tree begins to drop its fruit—each like a dainty, miniature, spiked peach. The man so admires the fruit that he makes a centerpiece of it on their dining room table. “This,” he says to the woman, caressing a particularly small and pinkish fruit, “is one fruit that you can’t compare to a woman’s breast. It’s too round and has too many points.” Read more »

A Review of The Madonna and the Starship, by James Morrow

science fiction by James MorrowScience Fiction vs. Fundamentalism

A book review by Mabel Stark

In 1953, Kurt Jastrow writes science fiction stories for love but not much money. He scripts and hosts a children’s TV show called Brock Barton and his Rocket Rangers to pay the rent. In his spare time he hangs out with other TV writers and moons after Connie, the highly educated and religious writer of a Christian program called By Bread Alone.

Life gets complicated when Kurt’s broadcasts catch the eye of some actual aliens, the Qualimosans, who resemble blue lobsters. The aliens approve of the science lessons Kurt (as Uncle Wonder) gives after the show, and come to earth to give him an award for his exemplary logical positivism. Problem is, during their visit, they catch the broadcast of By Bread Alone. Read more »

Desperate Love, new short fiction by Dennis Danvers

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“A restraining order back home is just another speeding ticket on the interstate of life.”

Desperate Love, fiction by Dennis Danvers, published by Metaphysical Circus Press

Desperate Love, collage by Sophia Hermes.

THERE’S NOTHING BETTER THAN a spurned, broken-hearted lover—the persistence of the pain, the pointlessness of the desire. Your widow or widower’s too easily resigned, has perhaps steeled themselves against the inevitable, may even secretly rejoice in their black garb like some giddy penguin, but a hopeless lover still hopes against hope or some such nonsense, and he is mine.

I say he because I prefer men, because I once was one, I suppose, or maybe it’s their fondness for the grand gesture—the drunken late-night phone calls that start out pleading and wooing and end up screaming insults, crashing the wedding like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate (without his success), or driving all night to Virginia and back to buy something truly lethal from a gun shop that would sell semi-automatic death to Charlie Manson if he could manage the right drawl and talk a little shit. The course of true love never did run true. A restraining order back home is just another speeding ticket on the interstate of life. Stuff it in the glove box and keep on driving because love makes the world go round just a little bit faster. Read more »