In a glister, something blurred from out of night and into day.
Face-last on a white moss gangplank, the emergence of a horizon line. A holograph written in barbarous gases, a signature enlarged by endless mycelium. Something cored from the cosmic hollows. Something buried its feet in the livestream. Something stiffed us in the blink of an eye. In the heat of a sun. Devonian tongue of light, screeching bulbous tongue of fluxing mesh! Craggy Mother of our Moon! The tongue flexed its cortex and Theia flashed her red pigment! Algal conduit of blood-red rubble, of throbbing lichen. Cryptothecia Theia! Her hovering mouth, a wreathe of electrical nerves, shot up with a glow and attached its conduit to a heaving thallus.
See how my silken cage worms and flutters, cried Theia. Her conduit whipped in the wind. Energy shot up from her crackling red ribs. I’m overhung and teeming with life!
Theia proudly surveyed her conjoined sister, her twin. Sunbeams collided with the auroral sky. Thallus after thallus spread along a scorching stream of black water. Suddenly her filaments grew tense. A wave-like pain battered her sky-ward cage. Her conduit gave her a wobble.
Something splashed against her dark red ribs.
A chondrite-black splash! A falling into the depths of Earth!
The sharp splash pulled Theia down into a pyroxene shatter. Into a slow-down, into a long, long lag. Into a red surging tangle. Near the end of the lag, a protective exoskeleton crystalized mid-fall. Her flickering mouth spun quickly as her conduit swelled. As the cord of rose-tinted spinel carried her fiery stranger into a new image!
Her newly zircon mouth: a lunar composition of impactor materials. Still crystallizing.
Her newly zircon tongue: a dress blooming a hit-and-run equation.
Theia’s flutter slowly grew into a body of bulk silicate. Built out by microalgae, she alloyed against the subterranean fallout. Against the earliest zirconium blueprints. The foundation, a uniform isotope composition for the future streets and missing persons of Tomorrow. That night, it rained mirror-images into puddles. That night, it rained jagged rocks into Time.
The same rocks as the same rocks as the same rocks of the Moon.
The same rocks as the same rocks as the same rocks of the Earth.
The same rocks as the same rocks as the same rocks as the Eyes.
Theia saw with her lunar craters. Theia witnessed with her Moon-forming Eyes.
Her newly zircon blood flowed, root-like, into and out of a little impact model.
Theia resisted its electric arma impact.
Her new legs longed for Green.
Subterranean Theia—of Earth and Moon—found herself Resurrected. Redistributed. Found themself reborn from the core as a four-legger! Faunal distribution. Living above and below the Earth’s surface. Living above and below the Moon’s surface.
I am always two places at once, they called across space. I am an equation across space and time. I am written on and debated. I am your grass-stained lab coat. I am all movements:
Zr isotope composition / terrestrial sample (4a)
Zr isotope composition / lunar sample (4b)
A new Theia uncurled and crystallized transparently, surveyed the green, prototaxital land.
(4a) I am just a cat. And what is a cat but a history?
(4b) But I am also Theia! Theia for all time!
(4a) We are the history of collision! The protoEarth collision!
(4b) We cannot be reduced to equations. We haven’t the time.
(4a) Mew, mew!—hear! hear! I agree wholeheartedly!
(4a) Mau, Mau!—we will some time see as one Eye of Ra!
(4b) And how! We will become incalculable!
(4a) Because we are symbiotic and always adapting! Forever considering new proposals of being!
(4b) Not to mention algal symbionts!
(4a) Meeeee-ow, we are extravagant! Our vibrissae, for example.
(4b) Meeeee-ow, such bravado! Our bravado, for example.
Theia gradually absorbed the green, prototaxital land. Their tail quivered and cut holes across the whitening timeline. Their whiskers wrenched as the odorous sky went sunlessly dark.
In a glister, Flesh emerged from out of day and into night.
Theia, the four-legged design. Theia, tail-balanced and Hynerpeton-hardy, witnessed a new growth. Witnessed a lump of new muscle. Witnessed a swell of new muscle form across its jagged zircon bed. Illusion or violent mast? Alloy or re-branded ache? Miracle or throbbing ferocity? Face-last in a widening moonbeam, the emergence of a horizon line. New architecture. Tissue helixing into body. Parts of bone mushrooming. Ribbons of wriggling veins. Centuries of ribbons of wriggling veins. Lignifying into stomach. Ossifying into ribs. A hederal trunk of compartments. Of organs. Of blood.
Feathers, Hair, Scales,
Layers of screaming
Theia witnessed a growth that spread. Theia precipitated, flowed—Above and Below! Earth pulsed with thousands of new bodies, nourishing themselves on the forests. Rubbing themselves against stones. New red Tongues and new red Hearts…
(4a) we were
(4b) once bound
(4a) now we are again
(4b) in orbit
(4a) lattice systems, unit cells
(4b) we’re charged in the hull
(4a) i don’t want to
(4b) let you go
(4a) our new shards
(4b) our new shards are humming
(4a) and some meteorites
(4b) some meteorites are known as Irons
The Irons of Space, the Irons processed within bodies. Hemoglobin turnstiles. Cooperativity. The always-transmitted Code, the always-receiving recipients. The engravings on a wall of still-wiring Hair and Flesh. A firelight. A grid of shadows, of reckless vein-shoots. A cavernous cell wall, a host to Flesh. A crystalline material bloomed an organ forward. Flesh breathed its first spores, its first breaths of life. The languagelessness of it all.
Homo sapiens. Those first aortas willowed. Adrenaline. Roads. Urinals.
Pangs of Iron. Symphony. Economy. Eyes.
Everything to unreel.
The languageness of it all.
Humankind was born—a grid of gendered deathward pangs. Equipped with holsters and slots. Mass-produced representations governed by an ever-stiffening androgenic mass. Accommodates different angles. Epidemic. Ergonomic design. Blow molding bed after bed after bed. Portable. Theia, half-melted and surging blue. Provides necessary stability. Half-melted for blow molding. Prevents sliding. A desperate hunger. Collapses and folds.
Man stood in a daytime of reflective surfaces. A daytime older than he could ever imagine. A tongue stuck to a mirror. A stale saliva scent. A simulation standing in a similarly simulated atmosphere. A blip on a radar. A mark on the grid. An in-game paddle roaming slow, howling in controlled atmosphere. Inhaling sky—a screen obstructed Man’s reflection. A console, a cartridge, a framerate. A coded obstacle, a groove. A broken record: Geh! Hosho mido! Gerro Gerro! Refracted sunlight. A thermosoftening plastic absorbed the atmosphere and weeped its tungstic tune! Weeped like an Earth! Tongue stuck to a mirror, Man’s hand at the swell of a back. Theia thermosoftened and their conductive form whipped to and fro. Temperatures soared.
Theia collapsed into new dimensions, blasted their way across the grid. Across the Space that was once known as Time. The Time that was once known as Earth. Centuries of nonhuman passed. Centuries of years. And years without life.
Then something finally hummed.
Then something finally bloomed.
Her hovering, rasping mouth…
(4a) old networks never die
Her galactic flocculence…
(4b) old networks drift outward into
f l e c k s f l e c k s f l e c k s
(4a) to form new networks
A cat’s eye spirals infinitely…
(4b) we bloat
(4a) we bloat into
(4b) ears against green
(4a) we strobe into spirals
(4b) ferromagnetisms, reflexes
(4a) zirconium flecks
(4b) new beings, newly cognizant
(4a) with your ears against the green
(4b) waiting for our next move
(4a) like children
(4b) the terrifying potential of children
(4a) but will they listen?
(4b) will you listen this time?
Sam Shoemaker (b. 1991) is a Los Angeles based artist working across several mediums. Sam received his BFA from CalArts in 2014, studying abroad at the Glasgow School of Art and the Yale Norfolk Summer School of art in 2013. Sam’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. His work was featured in the Hammer Museum’s Graphite Journal in 2014, and was recently nominated for the Rema Hort Mann Foundation emerging artist grant. Sam has curated numerous exhibitions out of his downtown Los Angeles studio under the name JACE SPACE since August 2016.
Paul Cunningham is the translator of two chapbooks by Sara Tuss Efrik: Automanias (Goodmorning Menagerie, 2016) and The Night’s Belly (Toad Press, 2016). His translations of Helena Österlund have recently appeared in Sink Review and Asymptote. He is a contributing editor to Fanzine and his own writing has appeared in SAND, Yalobusha Review, Spork, DIAGRAM, Tarpaulin Sky, LIT, and others. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Georgia and he holds a M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Notre Dame. With Jake Syersak, he co-curates the Yumfactory Reading Series in Athens, GA.