Two Unknown Alphabets


The last light of March 8, 1914, a Sunday, in Lisbon; a thread of spittle expelled by the Sibyl of the Troad during one of her transports; a grain of sand scuffed up by the shoes of Jan Bockelson of Leyden as he ran through the streets of Munster trying to escape his death by torture in June of 1535; whispers passed into the air near Lake Alice Hospital for the Criminally Insane on January 9, 1954; the electrical path of a willy willy crossing the border between two inchoate territories of New Holland in the epochal year of 1769; a lost verse from the Gospel of St Luke; a flash from the helm of a knight in the army of Saladin, that Kurd from Tikrit, outside of Jerusalem in 1187; fragments of pigment abraded from the painted backdrop of a Punch and Judy Show during a performance on a London street in 1823; a drop of ink that fell from Li Po’s brush after he finished writing Drinking with a Friend in the Mountains in whatever year of the T’ang Dynasty it was; an unidentifiable stain dried off Samuel Pepys’ trewsers not long before the Great Fire; khol that was used as eye shadow by a woman of the zenana of the Last Mogul Emperor, Delhi, 1857; salt from sweat that pearled on Sappho’s breasts; a mote from a sunbeam that shone through a window in Rio de Janeiro, August 24, 1899; a residue of Shakespeare’s unshed tears; amino acids contained in a meteor that fell from Mars; the final babushka in a Russian doll; a portion of Mohamed’s mitochondrial DNA; iridescence of a scarab’s wing from the XIV Dynasty; memories of antediluvian moths; spume from the wake of da Gama’s ships; a mosquito borne virus from New Guinea’s north coast, vectored into the Pacific by the Lapita people; Mondrian’s thought; detritus of every sailor’s tattoo; something (but what?) from the Burgess Shale; trajectory of a cartridge fired from Wm Antrim’s Winchester rifle during the Lincoln County War; the grains of paradise.


The name Ligeia; serum from an iron nail hammered into the wood of a fetish from Benin; a hair from the beard of the Great Khan; a yet to be invented Intel chip, infinitesimally small; the closing moments of the year 2012; a morsel from the jaws of one of the gold-gathering ants Herodotus said inhabited the Dansar Plain; a breath of air from out the valley of Shangri La; an e-ticket to the Lost Museum of Atlantis; the egotistical sublime; the dust that closed Helen’s eye; an incisor tooth from the Missing Link; the barb of a feather from the Korotangi; the notation of a fragment of the melody of a love song of the Alma; the McGuffin; Les Fleurs Du Mal; shards of silica from the Pink and White Terraces; a scale shed from the skin of the snake that tempted Eve; the Gordian Knot; ambrosia; the Compleat Angler; the piece of clay from Babylon inscribed An Bar that foretells the conflagration that will end the world; smoke from Einstein’s trains; the anti-twilight; the mask of tragedy; fugitives from the Peruvian zodiac; the profile of a woman glimpsed under streetlights as she turned a corner in the Zeedijk of Amsterdam on the night of September 24, 1979 … which I will remember always and never again see.


Annandale Dream Gazette said...

wow. I love this.

Annandale Dream Gazette said...

also, do you still say that you've given up poetry? Because you do realize that that's what "Two Unknown Alphabets" is, right?

Martin Edmond said...

thanks Lynn - it's actually from a longer prose piece, these are the things someone sees in a scrying glass ... as for the poetry ... never could get / those line breaks / right ...

Anonymous said...

I dig
the way

Martin Edmond said...

the long version is on its way to you Michael.

Moonmidwife said...


Rod said...

Some sort of divining mechanism at work is self evident.
Reading "Two Unknown Alphabets" was like dipping into a vast intricate infinite continuum.
That scrying technique is pretty well honed.
Enjoyed the dip.

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