Friday, 30 December 2016

Post-Gap/Pineapple/Playtime, for David

This is an electromagnetic animal. You wouldn't know it, to look at it. It worms its way through the back corners of bookshelves and lounges over the backs of chairs and the taps on bathtubs. It is covered with translucent holes, echo chambers in which patterns of sound thrum. The zenith of a morning alarm crescendo, the indicators of ice rattling, or the low amplitude string of instances, a cacophony preceding the jolt of a key in the lock. Deft fingers switch on Dance Music. Sunlight pounces through its tail. It connects your pixels in astounding arrays, like constellations, and with so much depth and width and height and all the minute fluxes in gravity and mood. Segments and magnitudes that individuals around you see, put into relation and scattered, arranged into a sculpture that it watches quietly in a loop, eyes closed, while you are out. .GIF memory object permanence. When you return, it will fold itself into your fingers or hum a favourite scene from a book or a film to you from across the room, or a long forgotten conversation, while you do many other things, but feel more familiar doing them.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Kitchen Islands and Lie-Ins, for Rosie

This is Firstine, who is one of the softest and most snuggly of animals. It steps out onto sunlight or the smell of trees before sunrise. It sleeps in folded blinds and under underused bicycles. It licks you to greet things and it stands on your knees while you breathe out deeply and think about a small, colourful thing you forgot to do months ago. It assembles complex geometric patterns in the dust motes while you are out of the house on trips. Firstine claws into your pillow and t-shirts and hoodies and socks and beanies so that they look as loved and soaked with expenditure and work and rebuilding as they are. This animal sneaks into poster tubes to be surrounded by the ghosts you used to introduce you into the room, into sleep, in from the outdoors. Firstine is selective and, even, timid, sometimes. It will not curl around your lamps to warm itself. But it will be the faintest glow when you get up to pee in the middle of the night and just nearly don't trip over a bit of underwear on the floor.

i'd like to be Braver and Kinder and Share Real and Imaginary Breakfasts, for Nina

I am a supple animal, and I am electric. My bones vibrate with every sort of wave in the universe. I hide in towers and undersea caverns and against brick walls on side streets and in between pages of all your favourite books. I do not let others speak for me. I do not stop them from speaking about me, but only I write my biographies. Sometimes I write five imaginary ones over a cup of tea I feed cats sometimes and other times I do not. I am regularly somewhat hungry. When I get angry, I thrive because I am fine tuning the parameters of judging fear. I am also scared of pancakes because I can never decide what toppings to put on them. On stormy nights, I watch my friends sleep and I mimic their breathing, but mostly I learn how to love bigger. I like rugged hardwood floors and pillowy beds. But, to be inordinately alive, I only need a pulse in the fingertips of someone clutching something in them.

Hand/Held, Gaze Met; for Rajni

This tall and long dappled shadow is an animal. We think. We do not know because we are not sure how to ask. It is snakelike and we hear it more than see it. In the way that snakes do not have ears but they can dance to stampedes teetering on the rim of tectonic plates. It seems to glimpse into the world sometimes, in reverberations. The hitch between inhalation and release hums. It soaks in our tea before it is cool enough to drink. It sits on the fresh pile of post at the door and yawns, as though to taste the dreams before a promise, but it has no tongue. It lays near us, just out of sight, and insistently states through the names we offer it, waiting for us to stumble on a whole different language of the catalogue. We have not worked out how to feed it. We will leave that up to you.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Purpose, Cake-toasts, and Dog-walks; for Joni

Hello. This animal says that a lot. Hello.
Because that is the best way to start. And, most days, we have to start a lot. We start every time we wake up, but also when we sneeze and when we make tea and when we venture outside and when we draw up legal documents or spreadsheets or text messages. Or when we stay in bed.
This animal does not have a name yet.
It says hello too often.
So it is difficult to figure out what other kind of name it could have.

It runs. It scavenges the smells and the echoes of all the things you have done and are doing. All the things we want to show each other, to prove, so the other person feels better and instead we go out to dinner. This animal laps up those things and presses its tongue against our hearts.

It looks at the stars until it has wished on all of them, sequentially and with reverence. It likes a small warm drink because it stands outside for hours to do this.

It has extremely good vision. It can see stars of up to magnitude +7

It laps up many things to stay fed. You do not have to feed it. It licks up perspiration and tremors and quavering in your stomach and also cookie crumbs and sweet drinks.

It has antlers. For hanging your coat upon or a blanket or for telling the time in the setting sun or, mostly, for charging the sunrise until it splits wide open for you to rumour fingers along all the crevices and the soft fabrics of each thing you might do that day.

When you go to bed, it will sing very loudly. It will recount the tales of where you have been, with harmonies of the stops you might make along the way to the next animal.

Ethien, for Rebecca. Or, Gender Binary Dissolution.

This warrior is an animal with fur. If it exposes its underbelly, it trusts you, because you could kill it instantly. You could kill it from above, too. That's the same for many animals on our planet. But this animal knows it. It runs a lot and it can sing across several octaves. It has breakfast at very different times each day, just to learn how the sun refracts in the individual grapefruit pulps at different times of day throughout the year. Every night, without fail, it climbs into bed with you, next to your cheek. Even if you are sleeping on something hard. Or next to someone else. It is called Ethien. If you sing it a lullaby, it will go to sleep before you. It does not snore. It does not speak in its sleep. But it will transmit the most incredible dreams of flying. Of sailing. Of speaking new languages and playing all the instruments you want. It does not know how to cook bacon. Or how to make tea when you are ill. But Ethien will stroke the underside of your feet like they are touching a cool stone floor. Like you are touching every surface all over the Earth. So you can breathe all the way down to saltwater, where the angler fish and translucent, semi-catalogued animals swim. Where the spaces between your fingers and the next thing all extend farther than they did before.

Early Holiday Treats, for Tom

This animal is small and confused, but very at home. At home! Already! You haven't even had the chance to put out a saucer of water or a warm blanket. That is ok. This animal is named Dapline. Dapline loves the cold. It loves running and sledding and snow and the feeling the compells you to step inside for a hot chocolate during a walk in the city, even though you haven't been paid on time this month. This is the kind of animal that leaks a steam vigil at the foot of your bed on the nlights that didn't start out cold enough to turn the heating on. You didn't even ask for it. It lives in bookcases filled with cd's and dvd's. It naps in stacks of old plates in the cupboard. It doesn't have legs, but it will skitter outside and bark at the postman and leave them confused, with some warm milk and cookies, and bring you your mail. Dapline sleeps on the roof or, more often, in your garden shed. It is so, so easy to forget them. But they are resilient and gentle in the cracks of the buildings and the weeks you don't quite manage to call someone. There, Dapline. Stay, Dapline. Have a treat.

A New Animal for the Tango, for Catherine

This is a very soft animal. Like mist like breath like when kids in winter pretend to be dragons. It clings to walls. Or the springs of futons. It stirs when it hears gaps. Not silence, but gaps. Breath that takes longer than usual, skip or (de)crescendo in the music, the smell of syrup on pancakes. It spreads out from the miniscule bubbles in the paint and it swells into newer spaces. The ones between your toes between jawbones. Tickling your eardrums. And if you nod, it will irradiate your joints. It will hold up the air in the spaces where you step and it will whistle a whole orchestra into your ear. It loves to run around you, dance around your shinbones, step gently out of bed in reckoning, or late into the dim spaces tucked into the night. This animal you can call Arradeon, if you want it to come. It has a collar with your address and no leash. It lived on celery and blacklight and it will not bother anyone else. It will just say hello to you. Welcome home, young thing.

It Would Be Nice to Poo Less Often, for Tim

There is a long, flat animal that is very sneaky. It blends into your floorboards and your radiators and your furniture. If left alone, it works very slowly. Like a sloth. But it has no hair and no miss in its armpits and it only has very skinny, short limbs. Over time, it will carry away single socks (the kind that lost their mate long ago and clang around in the dryer and the bottom of laundry bins). It will lift receipts and dust motes and soda cans and old bills and outdated technology. They will move through the air in bits of rooms when you are not looking and eventually be burried just below the roots of the flower patch in a garden 2.5 blocks away. It is very friendly. If you greet it, it will begin to remove more for you. Your sweat, bad dreams, your waste, your car exhaust, your nail clippings. All of your dreams. Your snot when you have a cold. The wear and tear on your sneakers. Maybe, when It thinks everything is smooth and calm enough, it will pause. It might tell you it's name. It might nuzzle you and ask for a rest. It will crawl under your pile of laundry. In the spring, it will be very small and you will have to buy some new underwear and maybe a new jacket. But you will breathe deeply and every square meters of your house will be bright and visible and will invite so much louder and deeper living.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

it's my knees, there's gravel in there; for Karen

This creature is a visitor. It comes from a constellation of animals that have names like Slinker and Ectopolis and Montreal Subterranean Aquatic Conjectures. But because none of our animals are catalogued, we do not know what family It has, if any. There are bits of it scattered in all the cobblestones on a garden path. Linings of all the pores where water seeps in. This is what produces the smell of damp stone after a summer rainstorm. The respirations of this creature. Let us call It Henry. Henry is quiet. Henry wears hats. Henry dances when there are solar flares because it feels solar flares are absolutely incredible and everyone should be able to see them. It does not realize that the dancing brings in other things, love and damp and fear and colours and the concept of symmetry and where shadows go when we turn out the lights. I believe it will learn this as it grows. When Henry leaves, it leaves behind a very thoughtful gift in gratitude. A photo of a long-left-behind friend. A can and coil spring to shake for the sound of thunder in a coming drought. It also leaves a second gift without thinking of it at all. Without knowing. A sock or a cough sweet or even a hat. Henry doesn't lose anything. It believes everything is alive and has the capacity to wander.

Long Colds and Undetermined Breakfasts, for Anna

A small orange sphere meanders across the floor. It has stubby legs and eyes that move independently, like a chameleon, but it is not a chameleon, its name is Zuphonic. No one is quite sure if there are other Zuphonics or not. It has a very wide tongue and It likes to follow people around and taste the air behind them, where they scatter thoughts and wishes and pre-ideas and feelings that haven't been adopted by words yet. Zuphonic always closed doors behind it. It is very considerate. When it jumps, it is excited, because jumping is a way of renewing all the possibilities of the ground under your feet. Many things excite it, even though it can live in the same room do centuries. Zuphonic listens to the ground at night to fall asleep, where he hears trucks rumbling towards stars just over the horizon, and beyond that, the soft snores of animals who are very rarely imagined, because they have been catalogued already.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Experimenting with Staying Up Later, for Charles Adrian

There is a cryphon named Hershorn. They live on the edges of buildings. All the ledges and corners and stoops and bits of the balcony where the guardrail does not touch the cement. They swoop; down, up, across the river, atomized. The instant they leap, they move in waves, in shifts in time and feeling. They mingle with the songs that make us cry, over the radio. They steal into our headsets and ask us if we will accept a call from an unknown number. They whisper to us between naps on a train and they offer you rich dessert instead of breakfast. Hershorn makes words. Big words. Not long, not spellable. But new words. To reverberate in our wrists and the space under our diaphragm. To use while getting out of the shower without slipping. They dance the syllables between moons and asteroids and dust motes. Space between their talons and imperceptible eons between each nuzzle they give you, in search of a stroke or a kiss.

A Good Animal, for Alex

Once there was a small muskrat. This muskrat was named Shelly. It had all the normal features of a muskrat, but it also had a warm belly and piercings in its nostrils. It lived just under grates in the street and it usually slept in the ventilation shafts of the subway systems, where it absorbed vast quantities of heat energy. Some days, the pollution and the noise made Shelly very tired, and they stayed enclosed, in shafts and tunnels. But in other days, on every day they possibly could, Shelly snuck into sleeping bags and blankets and skittered over pavement stones and laid on top of the cold and the sick and the sad. On their way Shelly would pause by worried or frightened or sad or lonesome folks (which is all of us), and play music we had dreamt of loud and spiky and echoing through alleys and up to penthouses of skyscrapers and bouncing along the river that ran through the city. Shelly didn't understand what a pipe was, or a flute or a microwave. But these are all the things Shelly used for beginnings, because Shelly likes to start everything with a deep breath.