the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




FOUR WORKS
BY TED STIMPFLE

CONFLATION #2
THE MOON LANDING
for Joe Chanpko

Did I wake in the sun was my first thought. No. It was a NASA mockup of the moon and artificial light was pouring in on me. I was wearing a purple loincloth and a spaceman helmet made of 5 ft. strips of aluminum foil . We were going to make sure every American thought we had conquered the moon. Cameras ready, and Action: Trembling waves of expensive media intelligence criss-crossed the landing site and my liquefied bones began to ferment. Flies, digital, one by one landed on my tongue and I swallowed them for ten minutes till my bubbling bones acclimated to the creation of this Animated and Patriotic wine. Stumbling I made it over to a fluted roman column and dizzy held on to it¾ I heard murmurs above me, " Where did he come from? Call Hoover and the actors union ". I threw-up a red and white colloidal substance on a cardboard moon- rock and fell over.

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CONFLATION #11
NAPOLEON

Wrapped up in Napoleon's black, bath towel is one, gigantic, flagellating, sperm. Here is an enthusiastic era, progressive and attempting genius. Here are grandest formulas, unorthodox and swirled to perfection by secretive hands. Nameless hands belonging to colleagues of Jean-Nicholas Corvisart the royal physician. There were 9 bubbling injections given and a blue, vial of concoction swallowed. Corvisart attends this gothic delivery. Hears the Emperor mumbling in sweaty delirium the words pierce & peace. Attends to Napoleon's fever assured it is politics bleeding towards a robust and necessary kingdom. The Emperor is unusually short and ready to inseminate a Continent. The single bruiser of a gamete is already swelling up and growing longer in the bathtub. It's 1809 and a few Austrian peasants, scratch at their lice-ridden heads, puzzled, as it swims up the Danube creating unusual wave patterns that shock one cross-eyed fisherman into leaving for America. A naked Italian woman, mother of 3, standing in the Tiber feels something odd bumping and sliding against her legs as she soaps her arms at Dawn and gets the hell outta there. In 1812 the same event occurred to a blind shoemaker named Yuri, swimming in the Volga. The French nation commemorated it with a triumphant medal; but substituted an engraved and retreating naked river-god running out of the wavy Volga frightened as a new psychotic handed food by a fork-faced devil cooking his own feet. Yes, Beethoven, Shelly, and science are in a trajectory aimed toward a postulated miracle. Yuri never splashed in the Volga waters again. The Emperor's majestic, saurian sperm entered into Russia where it froze solid after Moscow burned. Siberian winds, harsh snowflakes gathering in a heart of there own, a blizzard feeling all that glorious French death.-When fossil hunters find it 5 thousand years from now, will they understand Napoleon's sorrow? His admiration for the ferocious Muscovites, his over-blown seizing of fate, the sperms undiminished but comatose desire? Understand Napoleon's strangling nightmares about getting shorter as he aged to a dwarf?

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CONFLATION #5
THE ONE BEGINNING PUSH, PUSH HARDER

Push hard, push the director had yelled: I could kill that scrawny bastard. Freed of a prison sentence and given money for top-secret experiments. Hidden behind walls thick as red tape pasted to the invisible gate of C.I.A. headquarters. C.I.A. just an outer box. Inside, bloodless acronyms nest, one buried within another, box within box, till this room opened up with me inside. The A.N.D. running this Lab. Here, 20 ceilings beneath the C.I.A., but not under the ceiling of our most untouchable Agency. Here, cuz my husband Jim forged my handwritten legal name on illegal documents; cuz I had a two-bit attorney; a prison term long as the F.B.I story of Jim's one man crime-wave. He vanished. Whoever he was. Cuz I failed at suicide and flew back a healed synesthesiac hearing Green call me its sound is an avalanche rising toward the mountain's peak. The touch of aluminum foil tastes as if zealous puritans have tied a witch to my tongue and set her on fire. They say my brain is important & unusual. That the Final Director sends memos about me.¾ The lying nurse said I gave birth to a scrambled, disoriented alphabet. 3 hallways over my child seizes my face right now. Odd gifts the U.U.U. can use. You, child, listen up. The director pretends to love you like a son. His people raised him with one ambition: to eat supper everyday inside the final, ugly Macro-acronym.

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CONFLATION #20
A NOTE FOR WHITMAN

The snake with American, crossed eyes and a dollar sign
between his gaze, on his smooth lower brow, is startling
the poor. Bombs, the complicated expensive kind, are being
shipped around the world. The sophisticated pull of futures,
bandaged in thorny clouds floating debris in heavens shorn
of any blue skies- is toxin to the simplest wings. The earth
complains daily and the feet of the poor ache from trembling
rumors. Taxes to be taken, weapons are shipped, the economy
has a pulse related to war. The body of a nation is a complicated
machination. The snake with a dollar sign between his crossed
eyes and who moves with well-oiled sinuosity, smooth and hiss
-ssing, has struck. All the troops of poisonous songs at the U.N.,
march again in daily media. O Walt, lover of the poor and huddled.
Damage, confusion, impossible tears. Nations, Walt, are insane.