Here the cat saves the day

Mallory Smart (with Johnny Kiosk)

i am at work

lots of people are at work

you will talk about work again and then you will die


everyone is at work and nobody is noticing anything

there is something occurring at an incredible distance and you are always where you'd rather not be

small animals are beginning to disappear in first unknown and later record quantities

there is a staggering catastrophe and it is recurring every 3-5 minutes and there is nothing compelling occurring in your life

if you were forced to write a meaningful statement at gunpoint you'd probably write something like 'pretty sure i'm vanishing at the speed of the rest of my life'

if you think about world history incredible things happening over massive time frames that are generally indifferent to worldviews and personal belief systems are shaping dozens of topics and worldviews and even person to person communication that may not find expression in any relatively meaningful period of time in terms of human civilization or biological life

i'm not convinced ratiocination on long term timescales could have been selected for

in a better world i am going to email part of myself to you

and toward the end of the day on a friday you will stare in the direction of a suspension bridge that you drive by every day after work and you will feel like a tiny mouse cursor moving in that direction but you will continue to move and you won't meet the edge of the screen of the rest of your life that you normally run into before moving back to the same point you were at the day before when you felt compelled to obviate your sense of personhood in the silent promise and comfort of dreamless sleep which you have not experienced in any rejuvenating sense since at least when you were in college coming home on the weekends to your parents' house

stock prices are changing and you don't want to think about another long day in the office

you can't conceptualize life without being in the office

when everyone else is enjoying refreshing beverages you are diving headfirst into the theoretical end of your life

which you feel like you have been watching on a daily basis in slow motion on repeat for at least fifteen years

developments in information technology do not take your mind off this

you are beginning to measure your life in terms of how many cats you've owned

by the end of a life you might have had seven cats

you will be seven cats old when you stop going to work and start listening to repeats of the end of your life which you have been actively trying to avoid thinking about since you were at least fifteen

over the suspension bridge of Portland there are clouds

and the clouds are sweeping and vast

and they are illuminated by all the colors of sunset in the month of July

and accidentally there is a feeling that escapes from the dimensions of color

and it engulfs you

and it is indifferent to world history or natural selection

and you are beginning to experience a positive sensation like petting the first cat you owned while the rest of the world dissipates and becomes cosmic background radiation that thoughtlessly sustains the very ebb and flow of life

you have stopped thinking about causality

trees in the summer swell in the breeze

cicada sounds

like fire

like the universe erupting with its own timeless agony

like a monolith of emotional reflexivity reiterating its duration of speechless wonder

like a germ of life in arctic environs

gestating beneath the faultless stars

like everything becoming a metaphor for its own fulfillment

you vanish like the sound of cicada

there is a new fire

the universe erupts with a metaphor of itself

a cat leaps

is this what is left

is this what we have

an accidental narrative

Johnny Kiosk lived, slept, and checked his email in or near Houston. Sometimes he rode a bike. He was the author of the Maudlin House book, Emoji Death Mask.

Mallory Smart is a Chicago-based writer and is the Editor-in-Chief of the publishing house, Maudlin House. She also talks about music and literature on the podcast, Textual Healing.