LP: Fantasy Empire by Lightning Bolt
2015 Thrill Jockey Records Thrill 380
Favorite Track: Mythmaster
Recently, in the process of creating a philosophy, I stumbled upon the magically combination of words: flexible dirt. I am fascinated with the possibilities with this image. Cosmic horror here I come. My idea is to write two short weird tales about flexible dirt. One will be set at the Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. The other will be set in a “library” which is really an asylum where the patients act like they are working at or visiting the public library, but who are the doctors?
I am about to just play around to start fleshing out both of the stories below. But first, a few words about this entry’s chosen LP. This is the only Lightning Bolt album I own on vinyl and I need to rectify that. It may be my favorite although Wonderful Rainbow is up there. But you should check this album out. Even though it is loud, abrasive, and bizarre, this is easily the most accessible Lightning Bolt album that doesn’t lose any punch for studio gloss–this album sounds like how they sound live. It is experimental but there is pulse and rhythm. There may be too much feedback for some, but if you believe there isn’t any life in today’s music, you better give this a shot. Lightning Bolt has captured the speed-addiction of punk rock and drowned it in chaos.
Story One: at the Sedlec Ossuary
I could hear the chanting from the cemetery surrounding the Ossuary. The building was small with white walls and simple wooden doors. No sentries stood at the door, but an instinct told me it was locked. For a moment, clouds darken my vision by blotting out the moon and stars and, had I listened to the mad man’s rambling story and looked up into the depths of space at the constellation Orion, I would have noticed a fourth star notched in his belt between Alnitak and Alnilam. But at that moment of darkness, a great din was heard from the inside: a shattering of glass, the knocking over of something heavy, human screams when flesh is stripped, and, after a haunting moment of silence, the oozey sound of dissolving metal. I had fallen into an unmarked open grave, my footing lost as one of the sounds–the most horrible because of its familiarity–caused me overstep my gait. I was uninjured though my dress clothes were now dirt stained, however, the fear of death stole all other thoughts in my mind. The vision of my still body in a box slowly being lowered into the ground froze my muscles and each shovel of dirt made my heart thump. I was a skeleton underneath this costume of blood and skin. It wanted to come out.
The grave was only half dug so I easily climbed out and proceeded toward the back of the church where the curious sound of bitten metal sang like an owl satisfied with the night’s hunting. Was I propelling myself toward death? I couldn’t really say. Rationality was a traffic light burnt out. I turned the corner and stopped, my breath halting on the back of my teeth. Low, almost at ground level, where oval windows that had been barred over to prevent people peeking into the basement. The chanting had been originating from there before the cloud cover and the sounds. One of the window’s–the nearest one to me that I almost walked on it–gratings had been chewed through and fallen in the grass. Snaking its way through the weeds and flowers, curiously shaped in what could have been a hundred different models of animal life I had seen in wild or at zoos–from the common house cat to a giant ram with a sinister upturned horn growing from the center of a very human face like that cryptic stone sign hung on the literary salon in Old Town Square–was a patch of flexible dirt. It had no visible organs; it was sentient. It had no eyes; it moved carefully around tombstones and flower pots. It had no legs or a thousand; it was quick. It left no trail of blood and no stains adorned its changing body under the lunar light. However, inside the infamous Bone Church, five skeletons were splayed in a gory pentagram…
Story Two: at the library
“Do you ever wonder if we are insane for working here?”
Steven nodded his head, his large baby blue frames falling an inch down the bridge of his nose. His face lit up in wild excitement. The annual self-review he was working on would not be finished it time now. He had a new program idea and Colbert could already tell that Steven was planning to take his question to the most literal expression as possible. Steven would probably assemble a collection of the second floor crazies and have them act as shelvers, maybe even pull books and audiovisual materials for a display. Colbert drummed his fingers hard against the counter top. A Stooges song. Nobody ever knew it was the Stooges though. Colbert helped a patron place holds on Fun House and Raw Power and looked blankly at the patron who had not recognized the drum pattern. A bedbug crawled up the patrons pale forearm like a moving freckle.
Steven laughed. Everyone in the Films and Music department looked at him. It wasn’t an incorrigible laugh; it wasn’t inappropriate. It was full of life and long have the many who frequented the library everyday had lost that aspect of their lives. Now they found it invasive. Steven was unaware of the disruption he had caused particularly in an aged woman (by time or by lifestyle, who knew?) with a lazy eye, who began scribbling a note regarding time, place, and cause of the disturbance.
Colbert asked, “What’s so funny?” He drummed the opening salvo of 1970.
“There is a lot of flexible dirt here,” Steven replied.
“In between the shelves, across the audiobook table, in the corners of the catalog, and all over the Dewey Decimal. Flexible dirt–the thing that eats ideas.”
Oof, I want to keep writing but I need food. I have a new favorite coffeehouse because I can actually get some writing done there but they don’t serve meals–just some pastries. I need to find a way to eat before coming here but I am so used to the routine of getting tea first then eating while drinking. Sigh.