by Victor A. Grauer

The man with the hat put his hands in front of his eyes and uttered "Mew Mew" and began to trot slowly off to the left. He fell to his knees and spread his hands out wide to East and West and began sobbing. Then he suddenly stopped. He dug a hole in front of him and placed something in it and began to howl like a dog. Another dog howled back rising like the sun at the horizon in the East and setting in the West. The man was really only a boy. He was digging with a toy shovel and crying like a baby. The other dog was a plate on which his mother had placed his food and he had hit this plate and made it fly into the air. It flew into the air singing a song that I knew but had forgotten. The boy was only a baby. He did not understand the song. The plate was a speck of light that his mother happened to see while staring at the sun because she was blind.

A butterfly recognized this light on the horizon. The man was in the butterfly singing "Mew Mew" at conception. The butterfly dissolved into the early part of the day each day. At this time you could still see the butterfly by looking at a honeybee through white roses. The roses slowly became the young man's father singing a song as heard through crickets. The crickets began to sing more quickly than before to me. I raised my head higher than the invisible sun and sang by myself in tune. I was the man invisible surrounded by gardens.

It was three o'clock in his obsessive dream. White thorns beside a white wall. Pale orange dots in the air above the wall. It shattered. The thorns became unusual words. The dots were eyes reflected in other eyes. Each looked like a pretty butterfly swimming in the thick sky. The butterfly flew away in v's and w's and the man emerged. The sky was deep blue. It contained a howling black dog that wouldn't stop. I gave it a white bone flute and it began to play. I saw the man emerge from the sun as it hovered like a plate cast in the air. The plate fell and shattered on a stone with three sharp points. These points were agreements that had been made. The agreements faded leaving behind several unusual words in Latin. The man translated these words and said them. What he said was overheard later that night by himself as we would be years from now. These years became very small planets in orbits.

The orbits greatly troubled the man's father. He turned into a soft summer breeze troubling stalks of long dark green grass in a meadow. It was dusk with clouds etched sharp and white in a deep blue sky. The clouds did not move at all. The father whistled a thin whistle like a swift sword hunting. Now it was night time three days ago and the man's father was still hunting for grasses forming a triangle. The smoke from distant fires began to move South. The fires were flags set out in the meadow by the little boy for his army. The army was grass. The boy's father turned around into the boulevard of triangular formations. Everything seemed upside down until he himself floated upwards. He floated toward a staircase floating parallel to the stairs which were above him. The last step was the password which he suddenly knew. He became a cloud of honeybees in the shape of a peony. The peony was neither right side up nor upside down nor was it lying on its side. A butterfly with blue elliptical patterns on its wings approached the peony from neither above nor below nor from the side.

This butterfly was a small patrol sent out to reconnoiter. All the members of the patrol were blinded by light coming from the head of the stairs. This light was the sudden understanding of the tiny baby's father as he floated sideways over yellow and orange and pink flowers. He landed softly in long grass and looked around him into the boulevard of triangular formations which was right side up. His smile was a white bone flute promised to me. Its sound is the sound of a dog which only knows how to howl incessantly like the invisible sun. The dog howled and howled for pencils which could be purchased from a man without legs seated on a little wooden platform on roller skates. This man was secretly the lord god whose only power is the ability to control the wind by movements of his hat. The wind is the general of a great army and carries a sword engraved with words.

The army of the wind is organized in elliptical orbits and triangular formations. The man's father was boldly singing a song directed at the point of one of these formations as the sun was setting in a great orange ball behind him. The young boy heard his father's song which sounded like someone laughing. This laughter had also been promised to me years ago by the child's young mother. The boy remembered this and came to me asking three questions. These questions, never before asked, were carefully arranged by me. This arrangement was the last verse of the song and in this way the wind found that one of its formations was surrounded. The wind laughed at me cutting me badly in two.

One part became the softest thing the other the hardest. The hardest migrated North as sparrows. The softest drifted South as clouds. These clouds were etched into the sky leaving a scar. The sparrows made careful stitches but they came out at night as planets. The planets disturbed the man's father who consulted an old woman whose sole companion was a parrot that said the same word over and over. A little girl with a little orange ball startled the parrot and it forgot the word. A white flag could be seen in the shadow of the mountain. The word was inscribed upon this flag. The mountain was a grey cloud with a touch of white. The cloud drifted away to the West. The touch of white remained. It gradually became a vivid memory in the mind of the little girl. The little girl became a woman with a tiny baby.

The baby began to cry for the sun and moon. He recruited an army of irregular forces. This army set out in a summer campaign but was immediately mowed down. The left flank became the glittering of leaves turning between me and the sun. The right flank became planets spinning eternally in expanding orbits. This flank, still dangerous, was monitored day and night by a gentle doe with flecks of brown nibbling on a piece of clover. Day was a bird with winds outstretched perfectly still against pure space neither dark nor light. Night was an old man thinking one thought was he stumbled home from the public reading of a testament.

This man was the boy's father in consultation with a parrot which had learned all the wisdom of the world from a pundit. The parrot was restless and kept readjusting itself on its perch. As it readjusted itself a man without legs located just above the parrot but upside down kept readjusting the position of his hat. On this hat was a silver button that reflected everything so that the smaller contained the larger. A spark from this reflection attracted the attention of a butterfly formed by a constellation of stars as seen from a distant galaxy. This galaxy covered the little boy's mother's face like a veil. It was a promise she was always promising. She promised him a small dog that would always stand behind him so that he could never see it. This dog began to play a song on a little flute that I had given it.

I began to dance in time singing with throat constricted so as to harmonize with my own voice. This was the harmony of the universe. It was a triad of something, nothing and everything. A flower began to unfold out of itself very slowly in time. A white cloud began to vanish on the horizon of green grass. A bird migrated from South to North. A wind slowly began blowing up from the West. The wind moved several trees at the edge of a great plain. These trees were hanging down from above. I rose up to the trees diagonally approaching on fire. The fire burned three words of Latin upside down into a white wall beside white thorns. The thorns moved softly in a wind coming from the South. As they moved each thorn impaled itself in leaves hovering in the air. These leaves were soldiers of a great army. As they were dying they fell upward into inverted graves that had been dug in the sky by a dog attempting to hide a white bone. Years later I found this bone washed up on a beach. When I picked it up I noticed it was a small bone flute and began to play. As I played the flute told the story of a great war between the armies of the wind and grass.

As I heard this story unfold I began to yawn. From my mouth poured hundreds of little animals with the tips of their tongues protruding from between their front teeth. Each animal was the name of a plant kept in a certain window. Through the window one could see the animals walking in precise geometric patterns. A wind began blowing from the East rattling the window slightly. The sound frightened the animals who scattered into leaves rising to join a single tree in the middle of a great ocean. In the tree three white doves were perched debating. Each word of this debate was written down very slowly and carefully by an old woman in a small boat at anchor beneath the tree. The sail of this boat was torn in the shape of the letter w. This letter flew off as a butterfly with mirror wings. Everything reflected in these wings took on the color yellow.

The butterfly was a caterpillar with yellow eyes painted along its body. One of these eyes began to blink. It was a child stuttering as he tried to say a certain word. The child began to cry. His cry emerged as a tiny hummingbird hovering in front of his mouth. This hummingbird was the word that the child was trying to say. The child held out his tongue so that the hummingbird was hovering over it. The wind from the hummingbird's wings tasted like honey which had been produced in special beehives that the child's mother had promised to me. The bees from these hives formed a great yellow cloud slowly drifting West. This cloud was the sun turning black. The blacker it became the louder it howled until it was a black dog howling on a winter day.

The dog had yellow eyes with tiny red veins. These veins were dreams dreamed and completely forgotten. The forgetting of these dreams was like trees in winter standing isolated from one another. Each leaf contained a tiny insect walking patiently over it. Each insect had been walking for some time when it encountered a grey stone in the shape of a face which began to speak. As it spoke the face gradually eroded away into a fine white dust. The dust collected into a white cloud on a warm summer day with the sound of someone mowing the lawn. The lawn was a great army under attack. Each scattered blade of grass was the body of a dead or wounded soldier. Each soldier cried out in pain. All the cries together became thoughts in the mind of a tiny baby squatting by the side of the lawn as his father mowed it. Each thought was a pure color: red, silver, yellow. Red became green. Silver became blue. Yellow became brown. These were three pairs of eyes quietly observing the baby as it grew very slowly.

The eyes did not blink but were closing. As they closed the season changed to autumn then winter then spring. By summer the eyes were closed. On each eyelid was painted the picture of an open eye following the movements of a single yellow butterfly as it flew toward a large red peony. This peony was a beehive on fire with the honey oozing out of it and dripping onto my tongue. I began to say remarkable things which were written down by an old lady with a pencil. As the pencil moved it was reflected in the water of a lake above clouds. Each word formed a distinctive pattern of ripples which was immediately translated into rock formations on the moon as reflected in the lake. As the moon descended in the West a single word formed by the lake becoming wisps of cloud appeared on the horizon. This word meant something in every language. The wisps drifted together gradually to form a single cloud. By sunrise the word was gone and the cloud had become an old handkerchief nailed by two nails to the wall of a tavern.

That evening the baby's father entered the tavern. As he sat at a table he saw the handkerchief nailed to the opposite wall. The wrinkles on the handkerchief were the wrinkles of his face as an old man. He grew older until the handkerchief became a mirror. He stood up and walked toward it. He placed his hand on the mirror which became the face of the child's mother as seen through his fingers. His fingers became a golden veil. Looking through this veil the child's mother saw her reflection as a butterfly with golden wings. She began to blink and the butterfly flew away. She closed her eyes and the darkness was golden. She felt his fingers trembling on her eyelids. The trembling became pale orange dots. She chose one of the dots to play with. She was a little girl bouncing an orange ball.

The ball bounced over a white wall beside white thorns. On each thorn was a drop of dew that was a drop of blood. This was her blood from tearing herself on the thorns as she climbed the wall. The orange ball was the sun crying like a baby. The wall was the horizon drawn by an old lady with a pencil. The baby was crying for this pencil which had been promised by his mother. He rose in the East and set in the West. He was an old blind man begging on the street with his hat in his hand. I entered the scene with a small coin in my pocket. I looked at the old man and was filled with pity. I put his hat on my head and sang a song all the way through. As he heard this song the old man began to yawn and the small coin in my pocket flew into his mouth.

On this coin was engraved the outline of a leaf. This leaf was a trembling hand holding a glass of wine. In the wine was a tiny little white worm. This worm was the reflection of a light bulb. The old man's father was alone in the tavern at night. The coin was sitting in front of him on the table. It lifted itself up and presented itself to him before his eyes. It was a handkerchief nailed to the opposite wall by two nails. The nails were flies which flew away and the handkerchief fell to the floor as tears. These tears were gathered up by an old lady gathering shells on a deserted beach at dawn. They were a certain type of snail shell that she wore in her ears. When she wore these shells she was able to hear the song I was singing. When I was done I walked away with the old man's hat on my head. Because of the hat I saw large things small and small things large. Large things were contained within small things.

The sun was in a puddle. The puddle was in my hand. My hand was on the tip of my finger. The tip of my finger was a nation with flags. These flags flew in the face of a man dancing by pounding his feet against the ground. He continued to dance until the ground was vertical. The line formed by the vertical ground had been made with a pencil drawn very slowly over a piece of white paper. As he continued to dance the paper became very wrinkled. It was a map with configurations. A great general was holding this map in his hands as he consulted with a pundit. This pundit knew something nothing and everything and was telling it. As he told it the general began to move his mouth but no words came out. Instead tiny animals with the tips of their tongues sticking out flew out of his mouth. These animals had their eyes closed and their fur smoothed back. They began to yawn politely causing the wind to rise up in the West wearing a sword strapped to his belt.

The wind took his sword in his hand swinging it in the air. The sword made a whispering sound. It was whispering secrets in my ear. I told these secrets to the old man's mother as a young girl. Over the years each secret became a promise that was not kept. These promises became flowers that she picked and made into chains. I was bound in these chains and thrown into a prison. I began to scream and was let out of the prison as a tiny baby in the shape of a pink cloud. As this cloud approached the sun it screamed even louder and the sun began to howl. The

tiny baby's father heard these sounds as a kind of music in his head. He sat up all night writing down the notes. The white notes were the sounds of the cloud and the black notes the sounds of the sun. They made a song that he played on his guitar. Each string of this guitar was the horizon of a different day.

When all these days had passed the baby's mother appeared in his doorway. She told him the wind's secrets in a single word and took his hand in hers. Her face became a dictionary in which he looked up the word. Her lips became the spelling of the word. Her eyes became its definition. She began to blink so that he could not understand the definition. This blinking was the fluttering of a butterfly's wings as it descended from the branch of a cherry tree last summer.