“The National Myth” / Memorable Fancies #816

Why are there so few myths in this country? No tales of dragons and fair maidens, ever-sleeping princesses, or kings pining to return? Everything is factual here; in fact, the people are proud of it, proud of their myth that everything is factual. … [Read more...]

“The Exercise” / Memorable Fancies #611

(for Thom Gunn)     In this exercise you will have a pair of boots, a compass, knapsack, knife.      In this exercise you will find yourself inside a host device where you will have a means of movement, a way to use the knife.      In this exercise your mission will be to find the Giant by listening for his heavy falling steps and great harsh breath, locate him in his place and use the knife, or create him if you find no giant there, and use the knife.      In this exercise it is … [Read more...]

“Tour Bus to the Gate of Hell” / A Memorable Fancy #268

“‘Gate of Hell’ they told the tourists. What a fake! Yes, there’s a hole in the ground, a rotting iron grate, a lock a child could break.” They gape, grab a shot, then the bus goes on to Aulis, Delphi, some other place. “I’ve seen the Gate of Hell itself!” they say, back at home. “Here’s one of the kids,” posing and squinting up at harsh Apollo before the Gate, the very place – “But the real Gate of Hell’s in Byblos,” Herb interrupts, “We saw it last year, when we took that … [Read more...]

“The Gingerbread Metaphor” / A Memorable Fancy #218

  Hansel and Gretel are lost in the woods, but they come across a small house. Gretel says that they have become a metaphor of the human condition, finding refuge in the midst of despair. Hansel says nothing, because his mouth is full of gingerbread. The door of the house swings slowly open. A smiling face peers out. The metaphor continues.     … [Read more...]

“The Fourteenth Task” / A Memorable Fancy #108

The brave young hero has completed his thirteenth task. “Now,” he says to the King, “Now that I have done all that you have asked of me, including the silver mountain and the magic goose and those three extra tasks you didn’t tell me about at first – now, now may I have the Princess’ hand and half the kingdom?” The King looks at the hero in silence. The hero sees what’s coming. “Not another task!” he exclaims. “You are a faithless king indeed.” The King seems sad. “You are brave, young … [Read more...]