Atonement Century Machinery (Pure Land) by Fortunato Salazar


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Atonement Century Machinery (Pure Land) by Fortunato Salazar


All of tomorrow is sticking to fly farther than anyone I show it to, beginning with Legends Is A Good Song. Legends Is A Good Song rests her arms on the backrest in a languid manner and changes the subject to the annular erosion south of the Pure Land. Reluctantly I ask her the meaning of the word “annular.” Not unexpectedly, she beats me across the shoulders—that’s my so-called destiny cut. My cut of destiny, the heart of the heart of the cards that drop. Trust may come wearing a helmet but to no true effect.

Sins of the horsehair warmth of human skin. On my bed of straw rakings I nibble at the millet dumplings that Liza Questions The Vampire hijacks from the sky’s-not-falling convoy. My stomach is flatter now. I do double duty as the chaperone of new recruits. Once I had a huge cake, but it failed to prepare me for this wading into the ticklish slop of retainers being carried away on stretchers.

Luke’s Birthday Is In Early January runs uniforms, the best that can be said of which is that they foster a sense of place, though the sense leaves the beautiful innocent faces of the new recruits unclouded. The recruits come across as all hard strength but a pom pom choreography of rumors spreads among them concerning the decorative orange accents. Pollen and the endless swallowtail droppings take their toll. Boisterous and unaffected, Luke’s Birthday Is In Early January rolls the dice, wins big, sings a doleful lovely tuberculosis apotropaic from the Spanish Civil War.

A cart loaded with cedar approaches from the beach where the guards are busy weeding; weeding is seen as a refreshing change from the establishment of the self. “The establishment of the self” was last year’s catchphrase and by the looks of it will be next year’s as well. Up pops a large vehicle. The cart swerves and the cedar scatters. As I’m charged with keeping track of reckless violations of the newly imposed limits on speed, it falls to me, with the assistance of Life Recalled To Life who’s caught napping once too often, to devise a fitting punishment for the reckless violators of the newly imposed limits.

“Try to see your mate at full size” was the catchphrase of the year before last. It dug itself its own grave. I stopped by, as it were, on the brink of the pit. The year before last seems as far away as elevator buttons. We wait and wait for our chance to stake out a more advantageous encampment. I have the stamina and patience of a factory chimney. Larry Contraception And Abortion stomps on a flyswatter shaped like a giant foot. I think ahead to the battle scheduled for a week from now. I want the first five seconds to go by fast.

I look good in the cold. I will likely wield a pair of scissors at the behest of Loneliness And Princess Princess Resurrection who calls to mind a chainsaw endowed with the power of speech—she’s unhappy with the way her trousers break. I ask her the meaning of the word “apotropaic” and not unexpectedly am given the honor of flogging Loneliness And Princess Princess Resurrection with rubber tentacles. Howaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! It takes my mind off the soup I haven’t even started for tomorrow’s lunch. Lunch officially does not exist except for a secret elite eight. Snoring and scratching in a snowdrift, they twitch their phantom forks toward the dish the flogging spares me the tedium of contemplating. To keep my mind off the flogging I ponder the raw materials that went into making the tentacles: in this era of deprivation, looted lime and coal, but within recent memory, down the midline of infinitely better times, not lime and coal but Molière potatoes.

Other work by Fortunato Salazar recently came and went at No Tell Motel and is forthcoming soon in The Los Angeles Review and elsewhere.