Mobius Zoo

by Joseph Witkowski



I am space ranger. I ask for no home, no path or pleasantry. I speak an eternal tongue and I wish no false hope or insight, I ask only for honesty. Theory makes for good play, good entry point, define yourself as you wish but will that wish as if moving your arm. That is what you call it, correct? An arm? What is your level of taxation? Tell us if you are lonely? Do you have law or habit? Answer truthfully. Learn to love patience, don’t expect.


She awoke wearing untextured fabric on a solid cross frame of smooth unplastic. A cone of light had been slowly emerging inside the contours of the hexagonal shaped room, projected from an unknown source. Her skin was pale and ghostly, the hairs along her arms curled as if cowering and were incapable of perspiration. Her body felt like a dried up beach, almost scaly compared to the reflectionless gemstone surface of her sleeping quarters. She pried her eyelids open, a quick assessment of her predicament offered nothing. She had faint memories of tightly wound filaments caressing in a doctor’s fashion, no fingernails. Repetition. Phrases captured recorded, playback, understand. A collection of multi-colored outlines, imprints, documentation, juices inside him/her moving out in long hose, jars upon jars of excretion.
She took a breath, a gulp of stagnant air sat in the lungs momentarily, and was released in an unsatisfying stream exhausting her even more. She couldn’t imagine having to wake up every morning in this room, if they still have morning in this place. Yet, she experienced a slight syncopatic deja vu as she tried staring directly into the overhead illumination. She craned her head downwards and was at loss to find a door, window, hatch, or vent that could some how explain how she gained entry into this towering compartment. Perhaps it lay beyond the light. She examined her mind, growing more alert and strangely absent of fear which would seem appropriate concerning her claustrophobic surroundings. Perhaps she had been here awhile, had grown accustomed to this manner of confinement. She stood up and allowed her body to follow the course of her eyes The room seemed to grow and shrink with every odd angle at which it could be perceived. Dizziness overwhelmed her body and she laid back down and reconfigured.
Her mind was vaguely empty of all manner of memory, she felt she still retained the ability to remember and that the absence of any reifying facts and experiences did not diminish her emotions, instincts and what she took to be a personality. However, it seemed robotic, manifestly cold and symbolic. It was some strange catatonia that could only come about by tranquilizers, yet her body felt no illness, only it’s natural state. She ran her frail white claws along her various extensions, and then finally grasped her vaginal and anal cavity. She was running out of things to ponder and so she decided to give herself a name.

Old voice with much more feigned dignity:

“I desire at the hands of no king, no capitalist , no accountant, no doctor or maniac. I desire on my own, my lust, passion, envy are all singular, straight forward. Although it lives in my imagination, it goes outside to breed. I imagine myself looking at myself. I liked to record my everyday, I used to turn the hotel security camera toward myself and watch the monitor embraced by the pylon near the bed, the visage of a somnambulist. The image was crackily, the wires had been burnt orange by years of strange fumes seeping through once solid state impregnable walls of standard issue housing ordinance. The digital display, a tri-color simulacrum, shadow meets plane, and it is more flesh than I. They used to say that the body reconstitutes itself every three days, hair, cells, fingernails, every three days thus we are reborn, cloned, a cycle of copy making, splinter/shutter. Is this the being as I imagined I was, and what is this being I speak of so blankly? Where is my musings over definitions, statements, how come I do not refuse sexual topography and classification with the earnest vigor of younger days?
We have no truth, only a relationship to truth. A ‘relationship’ in the sense that it was mainly used: a love affair, a duel, a revenge fantasy. Words are piles of dogshit in the sun, they glue a nail to the insides of plaster, they slide through sewer gratings carried along by melting nuclear snow. They can sever identity, fly jets, impregnate messiahs and rejuvenate limbs but they cannot sit and stare, silent to themselves.
Speech/act is a demented classroom raped intercut with botched lobotomy. I crave shooting sperm as much as a good argument. I won’t talk during sex though, the phrases come out lifeless, uninvited. Like one of those shitty Hollywood Summer Blockbuster movie trailer narrations.”





More Montage

“Empty intellectual retardation. Erotica is for lonely moments. Fucking is about wanting to be alone. I think that If I can resolve the flesh, I can make my desire reach a brisk boil, a critical mass and the freedom follows. Violent needs have violent ends said the old white guy. The attachment of two bodies, modulation of heartbeat, rapidity of breath, serum flowing from the spinal cord and the mind spinning around jagged toasty warm panda shy. One day, there will be only two human beings left, the last of the species sitting in some intergalactic observatory and the keepers will be studying, researching, poking and prodding, trying to get them to fuck.”

Time lapse

In the perigee, the lost frame of a multi-leveled city lay in stern reluctance, glazed with icicle hem, perforated volcanic rock frozen Kelvin’s solid, arms stretched out from glass and soil. Night took over quickly and small creatures without names scurried around searching for cavernous holes that spiraled down toward molten core. Minutes passed like months and silence was barely ever broken. When the earth reached its apogee the world became water and the waves of all-but-infinite ocean rose higher than the most persistent outcroppings of land mass, towers of scrapped ghastly rock pointing fingers at the abysmal dome. The water swelled and rivers appeared and disappeared in the space of an hours. The ice flows occasional rammed the beaches and a loud cry from the fossils built up as it passed through the maze. The water covered all but the tallest parking garages in the megopolis, their roofs a field of overturned cars like turtles, baking their chassis in the white hot skyline of a post Fail-Safe phone call.
The two shall be of an unknown race, for countries, surnames and birth records will have been long forgotten. They will have returned to their tribal attachments of starving berry pickers and bug-eaters. They will be immune to all poisons and live to the ripe old age of three hundred. They will have wrinkles that dive down to the bone and their hearts will beat faster that a hummingbirds wings, a monotone buzz. The two will speak only metaphor fragments, perhaps a highway billboard will serve as some indecipherable religious text, worshipped, debated, sexualized and secretly reviled. The two shall sleep two hours a night, they will dream a century’s worth in five minutes and will forget it the moment they awake. They will spend most days clutching the other, worrying about the rise and fall of each sun. The conversation will be minimal, looking at each other with infrequent unstable guilt ridden glances while struggling to maintain a campfire built on pebbles of petrified gasoline. One light, a single ray beaming up from a dark spherical cypher circling the milky maelstrom. The two shall not love or hate, just maintain. Waiting and surviving until a pattern of glowing honeycomb appears in the sky and grows.

SoHo 3rd stage apartment complex, one-bedroom, minimal circuitry. circa 2054

There was a young girl, maybe a girl, s/he didn’t care, s/he was just about to answer the question when auspiciously the question had become causality. S/he found solace in forgetting and s/he didn’t see the point in lying next to this brutish megolith. S/he liked feeling him but nothing more. He was pure cavity, mold inside and out and uncaring breath and mucous. S/he liked watching him eat and shit and play with himself. S/he got off on laughing at him and being ashamed around him. There was dance and the dance was joy from inside out. Neither one relished the parlor trick, the false promise, the standard hypocrisy of intertwining ones neurosis with a fellow biped, the stumbled phrase, the mistaken grab, the caked on residue and what of misty lakes and champagne toasts? All the hard drugs went extinct 20 years ago when they found that glucose virus off the shores of Madagascar. The human brain mutated overnight, no more dendrite containers.
Ogre read a lot, history mostly, fables about princes with many hand which held many cups which ranneth over and swept away the paper villages. History is for REM-heads. Ogre read only manifestos and catalogues found in the what was the E-6 Library on 43rd. Guatarri and psychic nomadism, Kant’s Critique of Pure Bullshit, the phalanx prereqs from the early stages of the Jorgian colonies, underwear designs from Stacy Buick. Ogre liked tinkering, machines making more machines and thought serving ends not their own. Ogre was happy with no-speech decision, idle curiosity, rhetorical flourish on a meandering reminiscence, make-believe for the post ideology crowd. Ogre had dried cum in his chest hair.
She-boy liked to imagine him as the reincarnated remnant of some 1940’s Marxist rabble rouser. He had the all too common false sympathy for his brethren, a love of masses, systems, labels and other abstracts but he could not bear the company of real life personality and problem. They say Hitler never made it into art school because he couldn’t draw the human figure, only landscapes. S/he imagined her self as an wistful angel, morose meat meant for beating the shit out of pre-dawn slumber and being filled with energy at the sign of retreat. They didn’t do enough chemical therapy and mood enhancement trips like most of the workforce in the downtown square. They had no friends, but less enemies. They cried a lot, but spoke with vigor and street smarts. He was keen on protecting her and himself, an ancient code of love and property. Protect what is yours. One day a wire splitter from the 87th floor conned them out of a months worth of freeze dried potato bug secretions. Ogre paid off a cop to have him raped by silicone skinheads. She made sure he took his lunch to work. Their lust centered around themselves and they prayed for afterbirth, loaded with golden rings and an end to the nudity.

4:00 AM.

A pinch, comparable only to the kind felt in a mucous soaked green tooth at the back of a canine mouth or at the base of Kahlo’s spine. The pain was like pristine sunshine. She-boy decided to skulk from beneath the coiling bed sheets and sleep on the rug, center square at the foot of the bed. S/he nestled, enjoying the ragged closed its eyes and meditated, opened them to their 145 year old three legged short-haired Abyssian taking a piss on Ogre’s mohair sweater.
“There are two types of people in the world, those that have cancer, and those that are cancer.”
Ogre like to speak about people as one of two types.
“Sex is like an argument, the two sides can’t sympathize with each other, really don’t want to, but can’t agree to disagree. Twenty minutes of misunderstanding followed by five minutes of clean-up.”
Orge said stupid things.
She-boy rolled onto his/her back and stared at the six air-conditioner ducts converging at the center of the ceiling like a humongous metallic starfish. His/her mind began too drift into various methods of self adoring sadness. S/he didn’t despise her current situation anymore than his/herself. The world seemed practical and purposeful in it’s endless stream of un-fertilizing nights. S/he had a vision once, a vision of constant revolution. The universe became seamless and all the colors eventually converging into one. Gods became peasants and back again. Lovers finished their conversations before beginning them. Sperm jumped back into the shaft and marched backwards down the cradle to undifferentiate and nestle futureless.
S/he thought of their atypical Sunday mornings, sour breakfast, then stroking him off in the shower, the wrinkles of flesh in boiling hot exhaust, chaffed knuckles and cracking gum lines. S/he tried to think of other events in her life to pass the all together pathos of it, but she always drew a blank and just thought of the last time she stroked him off. It was when they were at the cineplex failing to be engrossed in some maudlin tale of serendipitous meetings and doomed love. S/he supposed next time she’ll be thinking of the shower jerk, mentally staggering her sexual chores seemed closer to sanity than engaging its reality. He only insisted s/he do it once every month, that’s better than most weirdos she could have ended up with. He didn’t mind her absence in the moment. He liked to be masturbated. That was a far cry and field goal from standard managerial concubine and it soothed the rest of the day. She-boy peered over her shoulder at the fat duck strangling himself in his snores, he had that mirage about him, hesitant to awaken and bring order to all that is arms length.

What’s your name?
My name is ‘Sleep.’
Why did you choose that name?
It’s the last thing I remember doing.
Why is that important when choosing a name?
It isn’t, I choose an unimportant name.
‘Sleep,’ do you feel healthy?
I don’t remember feeling unhealthy.
Did you enjoy the last time you urinated?
What’s your name?
We have no names.

Private monologue

“Last night we went to the Way-Station cineplex. All anyone ever does is watch films these days. The air is two thick for picnics and rodeos, everyone is two poor and unhealthy to be an athlete or attend an event involving one. They say that some cities still exist that bustle with the varied activities of sport and play we see portrayed in films. Films about baseball heroes who struggle with alcoholism, films about artists who torment their lovers, films about soldiers who defy their commanding officers and do what is right. We see huge skyscrapers and city parks, cars that move, woman wheeling their children down the street in broad day light, underground trains, food sitting in steaming hot silver boxes outside businesses, playhouses, hell, even movie theatres. This was the way it was. After the last blight, the factory works and the movie theatres were the only operable buildings. Perhaps their were others, but this all the people wanted to do anyway. The first one that the engineers finally restored was the ParkView Skyplex, it had a pressurized basement containing hundreds of solid reels untouched by the acids that linger everywhere. The neighborhood was exhausted from cleaning, searching, reviving or burying. At the news that the cineplex would show a film every night, the workers came in droves. They sat and watched a tree-lined world or yester-time come to life before them and for two some odd hours forgot what was waiting for them outside. That was two years ago. Now their is one on every block, in every food depot and meeting hall.
Ogre hates films, I hate them too, especially the “fucking” ones, it seems so ridiculous that people used to spend money for actors and actresses simulating sex to further these moronic plots. Will the jewel thief convince the rogue she-cop that he can be trusted by giving her a nice poke in a road side motel while on the run from the Russian mob guy with the scar down his cheek? Sometimes if you watched enough of them you could figure out what came before what. The films had dates but they only came at the end and were written in symbols called Roman Numerals that only a few people could read. I guess their families were Roman. Some were only black and white in color, some had similar costumes, others had no costumes at all. Ogre thought they were perfect manifestations of humanity’s deep seeded neurotic guilt complexes and anxieties. A culture so barren of authentic self referential examination it lived out its dreams in celluloid, not having to take responsibility for it. Ogre gave him/her a book once written by a guy named Freud. She could never remember his name so s/he called him the Jaw Cancer guy. He got Jaw Cancer. Mary in level 12 got Jaw Cancer but that’s because she didn’t X-Ray her breakfast rations. The Jaw Cancer guy would of loved this film, I hated it. We left the theatre feeling pacified as always. It was a shared ritual and no one complained.”


Some where near Alter 6 on the Outer Rim

Sleep had been sitting their some where between three hours and two months. She was only occasionally bothered by the feathery voice and its bizarre questions about his/her body temperature, or the squeaky voice and its questions about her cycle of perspiration and blood loss. Sleep had often wished she could envision the faces behind these voices, if they had faces.
Suddenly the whooshing sound of a door caught her attention, but when she took notice and scanned, its source was unknown, but ‘it’ lay in front of her. She remembered this. This happens occasionally. It appears, and then disappears. It looks a little like her, but it has more hair, a gamely look and a small protrusion between its legs. It never talks, it just stares at her blankly, scratching itself and making frightened little grunts. Now it was here again. Sleep didn’t like her privacy being interrupted. The worst was when the voices asked them both questions. It wouldn’t speak so she always had to answer for it. One time she tried to touch it but it just slinked back into one of the hexagon corners and embellished a confused look. She wasn’t sure why she wanted to touch it, it was reassuring to discover that its skin felt like hers, that it wasn’t an illusion created by the kindly voices to break up the pleasant monotony. She faintly remembered what it felt like before she touched it, liked she’d touched it before, for a long time, while lying in quiet.

Does he please you?
Does what please me?
I didn’t know that was a “him.”
That’s a him,
I don’t understand.
You’re a “she,” he’s a “he.”
I still don’t understand.
Does he please you?
I want a sandwich.
Why doesn't he please you?
I don’t understand.
What do you want to do with him?
What can I do?
You can do what ever you want?
Think I’ll name him. I think I’ll name him “Silent.”
That’s the only thing I can remember about him.

Experiment #416-x, Visual Stimulation by Example

They were being wheeled on steel-like trays down a long corridor, she looked up to see the top of Silent’s head, it kept moving about nervously. Sleep wondered why Silent was nervous, nothing ever happened around here anyway. As they entered a much larger room they felt the occupant’s presence, but could detect no trace of them, just a feeling they were there. Sleep and Silent found themselves in the middle of the room, their convaences now gone, their privacy somewhat and their bodies naked. A small bed rose from the middle of the floor covered with soft black styrofoam It was comfortable enough so they both sat and waited. Silent held his hands over the protrusion between his legs, she couldn’t understand why, perhaps he was getting ready to remove it.
As she watched him dart his eyes back and forth she began to grow nervous. Silent was becoming an inhospitable companion and a burden on her already unsettling circumstances. Her memory would still not obey her, her body seemed starved although she was well fed and never thirsty. Her time was well spent in the hexagon room, she had grown fond of pacing. Pacing permitted a relaxation of the mind, a freeing of the muscles in repetitive action that gave her the sense of movement and journey while remaining safe. She would pace up and down until her thoughts did the same, a lovely eternal return that helped her forget her inability to remember.
A strange buzz interrupted her reminiscence and suddenly the wall in front of them became alive with white and black snow-dots and a rich blue hue that slowly swallowed it all. Then it went dark for a mere couple of seconds, and an explosion of picture and sound replaced the dead air or their solitude. They were staring at two beings such as themselves engaged in language and acts unfamiliar. The two characters on the screen seemed to be taunting and teasing each other playfully, one began undressing, revealing oversized mammary glands and a hairless pubic area. The other seemed delighted at this and began to do likewise. Soon they were placing their bodies against each other and moaning incoherently. Silent and Sleep tried to pay attention to what was being showed but they soon grew bored, almost annoyed at it. They turned their faces in any possible direction than the screen, even to each other.


Feathery Voice: Our endeavors to promote the species L-564-Terra have not reached any profitable stage of success, request permission to liquidate in order to accommodate space for new test subjects.
Stern Voice: I disagree, this species has vast potential for further experimentation, we are simply not using enough innovation.
Squeaky Voice: Innovation, technique, random element, these are all beautiful notions but they lack reality’s demands. We simply haven’t made a breakthrough and resources are being wasted.
Feathery Voice: Subject Male seems unable or unwilling to copulate or engage in amorous action to facilitate it. The Female is of the same demeanor, it is unreasonable to expect any change.
Squeaky Voice: The Female seems also to be growing hostile. We lack sufficient historical records to promote a synthetic environment viable to the procreative process.
Stern Voice: Perhaps if we combined the visual document with the series of devices are latest archeological survey has uncovered. They assure me at least one of them seems related to sexual reproduction and might serve as either a stimulant or at the very least of memory enhancer.
Feathery Voice: I defer, we shall allow one more test under such conditions, but if the species fails to propagate then we shall commence with material recycle. Now, on to Species R-455-Lunix . .

The Last Days of Wine and Roses

She-boy and Ogre sat next to each other in a Chemical Shelter near 45th and 3rd. They sat huddled, nervous, each wearing containment suits and gas masks that collapse down from compartments on the ceiling. The shelter was huge, capable of housing a hundred people, and was remarkably empty except for themselves and an old couple sitting across from them, trying to sooth each other with love talk. She-boy could only think of time. The reception on the viewing screen was getting more scattered and crackily by the second. The man on the screen wearing a more expensive containment suit was singing apocalyptic in an erie dry tone.

“The situation is apparently a small group of Dustland refugees were attempting to repair a nuclear reactor 40 miles outside the sector in a small neo-city. . .We have learned that the reactor exploded, a massive cloud is headed our way and should be here within he next 10 minutes. . . . Everyone is very frightened, . . there is panic in the streets. No one seems to be in charge. The council is asking that everyone remain calm and to get to shelters. There is no way of telling what damage the cloud may cause but it’s best for everyone to stay underground and well-prepared, we could be in for a long haul here. Wait . . I’m getting . . Wait . . I’m getting reports from the outer edge of the city now. It’s, Oh my God, can you see- ”

The monitor went dead just as the old woman started to cry. She-boy looked at her through the goggles of the gas mask contemptuously. How many years had these creatures walked the earth, how much information and history was lodged in those craniums unfit for the ears of anyone’s grandchildren. S/he could sense that they were on borrowed time, much more than the rest of us. S/he saw their skin when they were undressing before, that familiar faint yellow flaky rash. They had RExliN’s disease, they'd be dead in two years. Hopefully sooner, she couldn't stand the idea of twiddling her thumbs in this pocket lunch tray with these two oxygen wasters. S/he seemed low on sympathy and had to stifle his/her wish to leap across the seats and smack the old woman into a stroke. It’s not like this hasn't happened before, s/he thought to herself. Six months ago a Methane tank exploded near the refinery and they had to spend two weeks down here listening to the blabberings and the priest- talk. The world was always falling apart these days, and their city was the nexus of foolish ventures, broken contracts and good ideas that turn out bad.
S/he looked over at Ogre who was strangely silent, he’s usually walking up and down complaining about how this was probably a drill or another media rouse to help the Council smuggle rations to some of the illegal colonies. S/he reached over and placed his/her hand on his thigh. He seemed to shudder slightly as if his coma had been interrupted by unexpected affection and he was unsure if he should be relieved or repulsed by it. S/he leaned over and whispered through the rubber.
“Do you want me to stroke you off?”
“No thanks, but thanks.”
“I can’t stand them staring at us.”
“Me neither.”
They decided to sit quietly and wait for the old people to die.

liquid system archive