A Manifesto

Busy fingering my paper takeaway coffee cup; locked out of my apartment, I wrote this on my phone.

Disenfranchisement’s at an all time high, at a time when franchising seems like the way to go.

Sunday school and I’m in a church; my chest is heavy. I’ve been carrying it for a while. This manifesto is for me. The glass is stained, vibrantly, in arched windows everywhere, illuminated by the moon: kings and queens, religious iconography. In the right places everywhere. Gothic arches and renaissance paintings—the beautiful ones, on the ceiling that’s gilded and crafted and detailed at its border; around its edges, detailed—high renaissance, the painting: on the ceiling, framing cherubs in conflict in heaven and hell—only cherubs, and the background is pale pink, which you don’t really see. Not baroque gaudy; more math rock. I like the way they paint the clouds on the ceiling like that. Also, the pews are clean and shining pristine and cherry also, and they’re perfectly equidistant from one another, its haunting: them, empty and unafraid, holy and solemn in the nave. While we scramble around in the dirt. Insects: we’re insects and we’re bacteria, barely fucking bacteria. They study us. I would; I do. The altar is ornate; it’s draped in white, sanctuary, and an organ, the church’s, it’s one of the best ever built; it lives on the edge of the choir. Golden pipes a cocoon of warmth.

“I’m in a goddamned cathedral.”

The floor is marbled, narthex to chapels.

“I am the centre of the universe.”

“There are no better-kept secrets than the secrets that everybody guesses,” says Crofts.

I don’t think it matters that I’m in the middle, that it’s all revolving around me, nor should it, but it is just the same. What other choice do we have? I don’t think my actions bear much weight on the universe, wherever I am in it, middle or no, but I think ours do. It’s all about self improvement. I don’t think anything could exist as I see it without me seeing it, but maybe the space in between is all there really is. In fact, that’s probably how it is. The marble on the floor, all polished forms a pattern. I think life imitates art; we need to be more clear about what it is we want. We should force our audience to do whatever it is that they want to do, and let them, not help them, but kindly. Determine desirability on the grounds of necessity and influence, if it makes you happy: why? Respect the maximalist. We’re all God’s creatures. Don’t die alone.

A priest taps me on the shoulder.

My roommate gets back to let me in, I collect my cup and I’m relieved and reluctant and I traverse vestibule from terrace to apartment.

***

For all installments from 30 Birds, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. “Velvet” by the Bloody Eyes
  2. “Subtle” by Yukio Mishima
  3. “Geronimo Sunset!” by Jun. 27
  4. “My Hero” by Annie Wonoffate Million
  5. “Gender” by Jun. 27, Part 1
  6. “Gender” by Jun. 27, Part 2
  7. “Eel Dogs ‘Til Stupid” by Jun. 27
  8. “Pleasant Town” by Jun. 27
  9. “Daffy” by Herman Barker
  10. “Classic, Ecstatic, and Shocked (My First Kiss)” by John Robert Barnes
  11. I Would/Would I?/Wouldn’t You?
  12. “Fabled” by Jun. 27
  13. “Simpatico Starring Matthew McConaughey” by Harrison Ford
  14. “Tarantella” by Jun. 27
  15. “That Time a Toucan Was in Our Backyard/The Very First Thing I Can Remember” by John Robert Barnes
  16. “Gutwrenching (Sadism in Palindrome)” by the Bloody Eyes
  17. “Maraschino” by John Robert Barnes