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Parabol Ate: Seize IV Zoo

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  • Parabol Ate: Seize IV Zoo

    Opening Gambit

    There's no good way to restart.
    Good thing I've already begun.
    We have a lot of ground to recover.
    Bear with me as I calibrate.
    Fortunately, though I wasn't making field reports,
    I've never walked away.

    Hello. Sorry. Okay.
    Here we are, a couple years older,
    in serious need of a transformative progression.
    Let's try. Won't you?
    Deep breath.
    Let's try.


    Let's talk Tiger.

    No; first,
    let's talk .

    No, no, first:
    Let's talk talk.

    The mode now is performative, public, process-expansive.
    There are no wrong answers here, in the midst,
    No wrong questions.
    when no one knows the answers to the questions we've barely been asked.

    You, who are new — and you are new, no matter who —
    Who've come here seeking better-shaped questions:
    There are no answers. We make the answers.
    You'll find in time; be patient.


    It's been an exting few days.
    A lot has happened,
    digging into the depths of this spirited text.
    Less on its meanings than its meat.

    Last time I wrote here, it was with
    a degree of certainty.
    Now, I'm much less clear.
    Though I know more.
    But Mark is talking about opening up,
    getting out of snuggie bundles and
    battle-ragged rental homes.

    So that's what I'd like to try to do.
    Here, with you.

    Tho U've burnd me B4

    Make a mess.
    Scratch it up.
    Be wrong, on the way to being nothing.

    Either way, I want to write.
    I want to play.
    All I want.


    Mark wants audience participation; he's made that clear in every recent interview.
    He's also made it clear that we're not living up to our potential.
    We're failing to see, failing to act,
    failing to even see that we could be acting.

    The is under weigh.
    Surprise, surprise: it looks just like a bunch of things that aren't
    supposed to be The .

    The Promise of Meaning.
    Parable No. 9.
    Clip 4.
    Parable 8.
    Even the interviews.
    Not to mention the black squares-becoming-stars.
    Not to forget the mysterious predatory framing of
    The Fifty Year Sword performances,
    about the dancer, the gravedigger,
    and their unknown terrifying child.

    Even the reiterated setup, framing the story with a disarming gesture.
    "It's about a 12 year old girl who finds a kitten."
    This is it. It's happening.
    Of course it's not all. But it's it.

    I'm a 12 year old girl.
    So far I've found a pair of aging cats (not kittens!),
    and a tiger on the warpath (not a kitten!),
    and myself drowned, burned, severed and scorned (not kiddin'!).

    Except the story's on the move,
    Camouflaged and curving through tall grass and stacks,
    Rrrrrowling and stalking,
    while we wait for further order.

    We've received them. Or, rather, they've been sent.
    The fact that none of us are talking shows
    receipt has lagged intent.


    Para-Bull Eight

    The first thing I really want to say is
    how much I love these pieces.

    That while reading & listening & trying to see
    over the last couple of days,
    I found myself smiling, laughing, shaking my head
    in credulous disbelief.
    "How does he do this?!" I thought,
    delighted and privileged to be asking the question.

    My friends, we are in the midsty outset of
    what has the potential to be the next great chapter
    in our shared grand adventure.

    But a conversation with a couple of dear friends this week
    led to the suggestion that timidity and delay have no place here.

    I'd drifted away,
    never far out of mind,
    carrying on research and reckoning in isolation.
    Thinking, "I'll come back to it,
    Once The starts being published."
    So I let the pieces trickle by;
    I didn't even watch Parable 8 until yesterday.

    I don't know if I'm "the one" Mark is writing for,
    (a topic we should return to!)
    but I am the one reading, the one listening,
    the one that I am, which is one who resonated deeply
    with the topics of selves amputated by environment.
    Legs that aren't legs without thousands of miles to roam.
    Fur that isn't fur unless it's flecked with snow.

    And I don't "know" that this is the book we're all fidgeting for,
    but here's what I know.
    This book, this whose title should give us such squint,
    was supposed to start being published this time,
    but now it's that time;
    now it's 2014,
    now it's 2015.
    The date slipping into the future,
    a tease,
    Meanwhile we've had The Promise of Meaning since 2010,
    which is admittedly not a lot to go on and on with, not at first.

    [... Actually, let's investigate the timeline in more detail elsewhere.]

    But there has been this trickle of story and suggestion that is,
    to me, finally clicking together.

    There is so much of interest in just these pieces we already have, that
    has been so much fun, even in just a few sessions,
    to crawl inside and taste.


    This just my opening gambol.
    Rawing the engine and warning my legs.

    In opening, I want to say this:

    The "books" as published so far:
    of Leaves, The Whalestoe Letters, , The Fifty Year Sword.
    These are all of a piece. Some have said they don't buy it,
    they prefer the safety of containment.
    They'd rather put each book in its own cage,
    prevent them from mingling.
    This is an error.

    This has been especially indicated by the more recent publications.
    Clip 4 and Parable 8 are so clearly the product of
    these emanations crossing over each other,
    their cries overlapping in the echo chambers of these fragments.
    Language, styles, and concepts
    slipping free their bonds and breeding in the wild.
    Overt references and subtle reverberations
    that are producing now a thing that knows no boundaries.
    That knows its boundaries, and leaps them.

    What's been explored so far "looked completely different from The ,"
    as Mark mentioned prior to performing his Parable about
    What The Tiger Ate.
    And I don't mean ever to say that what we're seeing
    is all we'll ever see. That this is all it will be.
    But if we do not have the ears to hear him
    when he says, Pay attention to what doesn't look
    the way you expect it to look;
    When he asks, What has ever given you the impression that
    you could expect me to play by the rules of convention?

    If we can't see the teeth because the tiger's walking straight toward us,
    in broad dusklight,
    Its body aligned behind its placid façade.

    We'll already be lost.
    Already prey.

    I'm terrified by what I see.
    Instinct telling me to run.
    Understanding just enough to recognize the dangerous power we face.

    Is it understanding that can sparre US?
    Or something less?

    Let us play.
    Last edited by Splendorr; 08-10-2014, 06:46 PM.

  • #2
    I'm intrigued... but perhaps too blinded to join the dots.

    If you roll the ball I'll try and tack on snow.


    • #3
      A Man and His Cat


      • #4
        Kevin, YES. I am finally about to read this.

        Here's the full text Kevin Brown is quoting from: this.

        What's your reading of Bevvare The Cat, Kevin?


        And, 2exist, I'm lining "A Man and His Cat" up for tomorrow;
        I know I can't read every puff piece about cat-love
        (but on the other hand, why not?)
        but this looks good,
        and with illustrations by Lisa Hanawalt (her recent book is a delight)
        I'm in.


        Many fragments are coalescing, elsewhere.


        • #5

          meine zwei pfennig:

          So right off the bat there is that pseudo-officialese that recalls the warnings and allowances one encounters at the onset of HoL. SCI-Arc has my permission to transcribe, you have my permission to leave, I don’t care if you like it, etc…

          This header is pretty interesting though, because it does give us some interesting and ultimately useful intel on what is to follow, just as we found out in HoL.

          Some gleanings from the preamble to parable no. 8:

          There is no good news. Meaning – no, you will find no overt dirt on TF here. Not tonight folks.

          I still write for one. Now that’s the easy part. Now comes the hard part… identification, if you really can call that hard.

          They must keep that creativity alive, dangerous, not necessarily penned up and alien, ignored. And you, whoever you are, I want to dedicate this evening to you. Right there one wonders how much of that audience was culled from relevance. Although one must think that MZD would be the writer’s writer much the way Burr or C.K. is the comic’s comic – there is a sense of meta in his work that can only be followed by eyes that have studied similar Zoos.

          …a project which started in 2006 called The I think that’s new, 2006? Started as in a dream started, started as in a sighting? How many definitions of the word “start” can one ascribe to a written work? Idea? Start. First sketch? Start. 100 pages? Start. Anyways, save that one for a cooler day in Cali and a $5 cupcake?

          I am in the very thick of that and yet I had to crawl out here. Ah these dualities of meaning. Had to? By inner compulsion? As in I had to get out of that room? Or as in I owed someone a favor? Is the contempt reflective or externally focused?

          If anything, I’m the guy throwing the popcorn… If anything, this supposes more than one possibility, or perhaps allows more than one. And where one possibility is offered, one must allways keep an eye open for the less obvious, less offered but more apt possibility. If anything he’s conditioned us.

          Another Texas reference – he once told me, remarking on my then and still present state of statehood – that he “had unfinished business with Texas”. It seems the feeling is mutual. Although I must confess a tiny source of pride that a Texan recalled the difference between an Ape and a Chimpanzee (I am of that rarest of rare – the self-loathing Texan, okay, not Texan per se, but of being ascribed to the overall poorridge).

          …and then I began to (un)think about the tiger and what if the tiger could… I’ve replayed this section ad nauseum and am confident that what I am hearing is the term unthink, but perhaps slipped in such a way as to come across as a word whisker – a seemingly all too relevant vehicle no? a whisker? And of course in the context of the statement, that state of mind where you have to pay attention to the other beings in the jungle aside from the chimps, the terrifying ones, oftentimes requires that ability to unthink, to uncouple our direct consciousness to a given thing to really acquire the focus needed to suss it out. Like relaxing one’s eyes to see the hidden image in the apparently random splattering of dots and colors.

          And thus ends the introduction, and we are dropped into a 1POV narrative of a tiger (though if you notice the POV slips a few times – slips as in slippery, not slips as in unintentional) who introduces himself “I am your tiger at the zoo.” And then the condescension of a superior animal to a lower one begins – punctuated by brief physical roadsigns as to the temperament and proprioception of the tiger, especially in relation to the reader. This. How many times have we lost sight of, especially on a first pass reading, of the exact relationship between us as a reader and a story by this particular stripe of storyteller? Especially given our years of conditioning to linear, predictably arced and bow-tied T-minus-ten-pages-to-go-to-plot-resolution-narratives? It was only after a few (let’s call it six) readings of HoL that I got it, in the sense that I think I got it, and yet even that might be me still misreading the signs of significance of a tiger twitching his tail, licking a paw, or turning around in his concrete bowl to lock my gaze.

          Yet there is a point where the Tiger demures, admitting he too has made poor choices, hence his current abode. Now this is where we are first faced with the real task of assigning value to the Tiger.

          Is the Tiger Story? Certainly that is the lowest hanging fruit, and the one offered to us by way of a casual mention in the introduction – a rearrangement of the equation by suggesting that Author = Man with Popcorn.

          So for now, in the absence of anything else, let’s run with that. We know that Tiger = Story, Man with Popcorn = Author, as offered to us by the less than reliable author, oh and let’s not forget the embedded third variable, Z is for Zoo.


          Because what good is a Zoo without people to stroll through it? Or could one have a Zoo without those who bring the animals to the Zoo?

          But have we really identified the Zoo? Not yet. But wait. We are told we’d make three mistakes, we, being addressed as the man with the popcorn. Remember, this was written for those who would be working on their own works, so we are meant to relate to the author. So we are to view this as authors. Hold that thought.

          There is the identification and dismissal of the wife. More on that later, but it is mentioned and it is key, a subset within the greater formula we are being blackboarded here.

          Amputation. The idea of being amputated from place, one self from another as in life/destiny/being/former life/whatever. And a very key tell:

          “You do not understand amputation because you have not known imprisonment, and crutches and wheelchairs are just the beginning. Grippers and hooks too, don’t forget those knee blades. Did you realize ex-cons behave differently here around me? Especially those who have served time? Real time?”

          An allusion to a sort of amputation only an author with popcorn could know? Or is there something more specific in this veiled threat, from across the pond in the bottom of the bowl? The Tiger, now captive, begins to outline the severity of amputation from his wilder state, the palliative nature of his existence since capture, the recollection of a boar kill contrasted to his meat slide, the exotic surroundings he enjoyed to the concrete tree, the only one left standing after the real one was destroyed by the Tiger (an affront to his condition no doubt). Amputated from hunger, amputated from those things that made him Tiger.

          So let’s stop a beat to ruminate on the concept of story as caged Tiger. If a story is a caged Tiger, and an author is a man observing – what divides the man and tiger? OR perhaps, what allows the tiger to be safely viewed by the masses – those “striving deprived” as Tiger called those who have conducted the transaction of currency for time to gaze upon Tiger? Then Zoo must be Book, no? And doesn’t this fit in so many wonderfully jigsawn ways? The publisher merely curates and markets, presents the captured labors of another’s hunt, “once it has been brought to agency” (haha) another’s life studies for all to see – and who gains the most financially from the transaction? The one who finds the Tiger? No. The one who curates it? Yes. And how many times have we seen the Tiger as Technicality, Tiger-esque flaccid yet overstuffed a dead-behind-the-eyes biological placeholder lulling behind the bars, behind those linear guidelines for what is supposed to be Tiger? How those bars cut and segment and dissect that animal into long form blocks of chapter and verse or small chain-link chunks digitally woven (almost wirelessly), or if you are fortunate enough to have a talented writer and equally adventurous publisher, maybe Lucite or even better perhaps enclosed in a more “natural” habitat devoid of bars but still muted by distance (moat, wall) if not by bars/glass. And in any case, no one is tossing Sitka deer over the fence, and in any case, even with the off chance of live game as a meal, there is no real hunt in such a compressed territory, such fiberglass and rebar environments dictated by a firm in Boston versus millennia of planetary aging to perfection.

          Every story wrought and put to a page
          Is a Tiger caught and put in a cage.

          So I submit that Zoo is Publisher in a 50,000 foot view, and Book at ground level. Why Z? If the Zoo protects the public from the animal, what does the Z in MZD protect? The M from the D? The Mark from the Danielewski? Z protects the individual from the famil(y/iar)? Does Z serve as a barrier between son and father? We are all pretty versed at this point (in the M version at least) of the relationship between him and his father. Just a thought.

          An indulgence:

          T+Z=MwP (The Z allows him to exist)
          T-Z=0 (No Z, no M)

          T is for Tiger. T is for Tad? Could one of the selves of the Tiger be the paternal self? There are allusions to Tigers all over MZD’s work, and HoL has its share, and we know now the genesis of HoL, and how his father viewed it, how it was ripped and discarded, resurrected and repaired. Zampanò curated TNR, and paid a price for it, at the hands of some rather large claws (in the wake of some dead lesser felines as well), yet still managed to protect many from the story. Does Z still protect the reader from the story? More importantly, does Z still protect the author from the story? Is M the reader of D, the author of M? Or is M the story that needs curating by Z, after being “brought about” by T?

          And what of the story itself? What of the Tiger? Does the Tiger deserve what it has been subjected to? No. Does it deserve the foregone conclusion if it makes a choice to react against its state of incarceration? Two in the head? Certainly not. The Tiger was plucked and packaged for consumption, no butcher block to be sure, but the bleeding still occurs, it just doesn’t stain concrete that sandy rust of sun-bleached plasma, it stains the animal itself – in those eyes, those loose and weakened hip sockets, those elongated nails, allowed to grow in the absence of chase. The matted fur of acceptance, of indifference. Can a story we read, no matter how faithfully rendered on the page, no matter how thoughtfully crafted/framed/typeset to offer us a more organic view, be it analog or digitally, can we ever truly see the Story as it was observed by the Author? No. And isn’t that a sobering realization? That some of our most loved and revered stories are just bad lighting and weekly replanted terrariums of a Technicolor 5-sense world? It almost makes us feel cheated, that is until we find a Zoo that can break past those linear black and white bars of space and time, those steel and concrete dimensions of verso and recto that rigidly dictate the manner, flow, and direction of a Tiger. Or worse, that deform our view of a Tiger. A Tiger must be double spaced 12pt TNR (or Courier). That is all.

          Pantheon is a cutting edge Zoo, in that it really sees a Tiger for what it should be, though it can never see it for what it was, it sees it far closer to the real thing that the average zoo. And of course a good Zoo needs a good director, curator – a good author.

          But back to the Parable…

          When our MwP makes it snow, the Tiger is pleased, and then all the more sickened when the artifice is seen for what it truly is. A trick of the past, the phantom limb of a life in wild splendor twitching and itching where it no longer exists in the form of artificial snow, of the buttered and popped variety. And when the Tiger doesn’t react, MwP ups the ante with rocks. Rocks he brought with him, either into the park itself, or along the way. Are rocks the preconceived notions of what a story should do, what a story should be, how it should behave? Are they the hamfisted segues between elements an author coarsely stitches together, attempting to compartmentalize a wild thing, to package it for mass consumption? Surely they could be, especially if the MwP is Author. But what it, what if MwP is Reader? What if the “if anything” Mark alluded to was an opening for interpretation? Like some of the best books ever written, there are often dual meanings, dual fulfillments. If MwP is Reader, then what? Then is Mark striking out at those who don’t get it? Not at all. Those that don’t get Tigers at the Zoo, what do they do? They queue up for the primates, or the fish, or the giftshop. One can imagine a small sector, as MwP must surely represent in the larger number of visitors in the life of a captive Tiger, a small sector, a singular group that perhaps has grown impatient with MZD, perhaps wanting some action! “A good show” – One can’t help but think of all the regrettable Facebook posts, particularly early on in The campaign, before we knew the meaning of the numerical strings, before we began to see the patterns emerge. How some were, at least the few I bothered to read, downright rude and irreverent to someone who just as recently as what, five years ago brought them such entertainment, who was subjected to the internet’s version of “what have you done for me lately?” with taunts of “quit trying to be clever” and “write”, or “enough with the artsy stuff”, or, “we know you are a genius, now give us a book”. One can’t help but marry the two actions here – the rocks and the posts – those posts requiring effort, requiring, albeit a modicum of, thought and purpose, about as hard a task as filling a cargo short pocket with rocks. And those posts, so small in their digital footprint, microscopic really, no fatal harm in and of themselves, but the T50YS taught us about the power of small cuts, perhaps they do, en masse, take their toll though the hurler, the slinger of petrified feces might not think it such a big deal. So perhaps a dual meaning is that of MwP as Impatient Reader, or Casual Observer – one who doesn’t wish to invest even a few steps in the direction of the artist in order to enjoy, with every advancing inch, an exponentially greater understanding of the art, thereby resulting in richness and reward they will never see, let alone attain. The Tiger as Story hates these people so much, merely letting them go will not do until there is due. Not that I think MZD a man who would ever, ever voice such a thought, but I can’t help but reflect upon my own little artistic triumphs, and the steps taken to get there, and wonder how I’d react along the way if little sharp rocks of “bah humbug” and “get over yourself” were being hurled at me, knowing I’m not doing this for me, but the very ones throwing the stones. I might want to eat their children as well.

          And to the point of eating their children. The Tiger as Story, and MwP as Author sees this as a long standing tradition – the toll a story, or the life of curated storytelling, of Zoo-kept Tigers takes on those most important to the Author, allways those closest – see every successful and talented (you need both, for one can survive without the other, sadly, but you really need both to truly devastate a family) author ever.

          But what of MwP as Reader? Then one can read the Tiger as Story killing of his children as what? What does a man with popcorn and dockers full of rocks hold most dear? You think his progeny? You think the children in this case might be literal? Or do you think someone so selfish and myopic might value things closer to his DNA, even closer than the progeny he sired (or did he in the event of the daughter almost spared?) by the woman he collected along his stroll through his own curated zoo of life, ignorant of his own play in his own story? I would imagine such a man would value his time, his money, but above all else his childlike and immature vanity over such bothersome and needy things as children, sure they’re great as ego mirrors go, but would a Tiger of this stripe settle for anything less than what he chose? Never – the polar opposite of Allways. He chose Pain. So pain is what he caused in taking the most dear from the vacuous. The vacuous valuing their time, their money, how they are viewed: “What did you think of that new Danielewski book?” “Oh, yeah, I didn’t get it…” “You didn’t? Did you even read it?” Tiger licks paws.

          So does any of this help us in The ? How could any of us say this far ahead of 51915? It was alluded, and perhaps misdirected, that some may come back to this post-release and go “Oh I see what he did there” and MZD assures us that this is a separate thing. And it might be.

          But do you really believe that?


          • #6
            The search for a more ethical wildlife park


            • #7
              Mark Z. Danielewski's
              Parable 8: Size for Zoo
              (first third-ish)
              transcribed for your obsession's pleasure
              with minimal errors and/or mishearings
              next two thirds likely to be posted in installments

              So let's start with the good news, and the bad news. The good news is… now let's get to the bad news. (Laughter) Tonight is not going to be a lecture, I'm not going to be explaining anything. Uhh… it's not a powerpoint, I'm not going to be illustrating anything. And in fact, it's going to be a bit difficult. It's going to take an hour. It's not 20 minutes, it's not 40 minutes, it's going to take a full hour, and that doesn't include these prefatory remarks. Which Sci-Arc does have my permission to transcribe, if they wish. It's gonna be dense, convoluted… a little dangerous, it requires focus, it requires a lot of imagination. Not particularly humorous, uh, some may wanna leave… you have my permission. You may leave. Uh despite some impressions, perhaps, I still write for one. So, it is my wish that tonight may resonate with someone years from now who's caught in their own, vast, complicated project, borne under by trivia and toils, who suddenly realizes that in this moment, they still have to honor that spirit that led them to this creative profession in the first place. They must still keep that creativity alive, dangerous, not necessarily penned up, alien, ignored. And, you, whoever you are, I don't know who you are, I want to dedicate this evening to you.
              So as Todd mentioned, I'm in the middle of a new project which started in 2006 called The , about a 12-year-old girl who finds a kitten. And it is, uh, 27 volumes long, I have written ten volumes, and the first volume - Todd was right, it has many moving parts - is actually due at my publishers on April 9th. So, I am in the very thick of that, and yet I had to crawl out, here. And um… I have been thinking about what I would present here, and I decided that what I wanted to do was share with you something that I had written on the side. It's not published, very few people have read it, but it was necessary for me to write, in order to move forward on this project that involves all sorts of trivial details and stresses that go from what's on the page to, you know, color components, to contracts, et cetera… that I needed to write this thing. And if people comment later on The , and say 'Oh, look how he did this, or look how he did that…' … that didn't come out of doing this or that, that came out of doing something on the side which looked completely different from The . And so that's that thing, that I want to give to you. Or share with you. And I want to share it also with an understanding that I feel it's very significant. I don't care if you like it, or don't like it, but it's significant enough to me, that I can turn to it as a reminder to myself, um… about what I do. And… so, uh, a couple of notes, the you in what's to follow, is not the you I'm addressing now. And the first person that's about to follow is not the I that is speaking. If anything, I'm the guy throwing the popcorn. That'll make sense to you a little later. Uh, so one final note, is uh, I used to have this creative riff. Where I would, people would ask me about the creative process. And I called it the Jane Goodall with Chimpanzees. Actually the first time I said it, I said it's like Jane Goodall and the gorillas, and somebody yelled from the back of the room, Jane Goodall never worked with gorillas, she worked with Chimpanzees. Uh, so I thank her… that was in Texas, um…
              So what I've always said is that you go into the jungle on a certain day and you sit on a certain spot, and you sit there very quietly for a long period of time, and then you leave. And then the next day, you go sit in the same spot, you sit there quietly for the same amount of time, and you listen, and then you leave. And then eventually, in that jungle, you start to hear sounds. And you keep going every day. And you sit at the same spot. And you listen. And after a while, you start to hear these voices, out in the jungle, and eventually they come closer, and then eventually, you meet the chimpanzees. And then they begin to tell you their stories. They tell you their worries, they tell you their possibilities. And those are your creative chimpanzees. And, if you decide one day not to show up, and… or you show up late, then you may get there and the chimpanzees are just going to throw shit at you, which is what you're going to produce. Or they can get very angry at you. And I still do that, I think it's all about routine, I think it's about being there and listening to your chimpanzees. But over the years I've realized that the jungle has a lot more than chimpanzees. And I began to hear other sounds, and some of those sounds can get quite terrifying. Especially when you're outside your comfortable perimeter, and you're starting to do something that you've never done before, and you're getting older, and you're ailing, and you're starting to face things that are so… so… (laughs) they're so obvious, in the cycles of life, and yet you're sort of confounded that they're happening to you. And so I began to think about Wittgenstein's famous quote, that if a lion could speak, we could not understand him. And then I began to think of the tiger. Well, what then of the tiger? What if the tiger could make him or herself understood, but chose not to? So it's to this speechless tiger that I'm going to devote the next hour.
              I am YOUR tiger at the zoo. Not that you recognize this. And what say we forget considered it or even briefly suspected it. Distinctions, to be fair, lost on you, and again, to be fair, lost on me too. And also to get into something right away, what 'me' is, is a tangle. (Tiger yawns once.) Not that I care. (Yawns twice.) Which I realize might be exactly what attracted you here in the first place, the not caring part, I mean beyond the obvious call of these orange stripes, pitch sliced. And my size of course. And that such size could move at all, let alone move so quickly, or so the rumors go. Which when you came around was certainly not evident. This couldn't-care-lessing I'm so good at, or this tangly me, or that what 'I' is is a tangly thing, too. Not the you though. Definitely not the you. No tangles there, or couldn't-care-lessing. In fact the 'you' will remain our stony truth. I who am me without a me, I who am I without an I, am definitely your tiger at the zoo. But you didn't get that. (Tiger flicks tail.) And that was your first mistake. You will make three. You presumed I was everyone's tiger at the zoo. Idiot fool, food. Everyone's tiger at the zoo? Really? Though to be fair, (tiger blinks slowly) along with all this couldn't-care-lessing, I'm not particularly fair, either, just lazy. Really quite superb at it, lolling around, napping, and waiting, that too. Still maybe it was this, this what, poor assumption of yours, a kind of erroneous yet critical conclusion, call it belief, though belief in what, some larger impression? A collective entitlement? My apparent resemblance to common property? Really? That once you paid for your tickets…
              I've heard about tickets. It's when you part with something and in return get to claim something. In your case, you get to see something. Is it see? Regardless, cast your eyes down here, upon me. Or better, behold, yes that's it, behold this heave of fur, what you just declared a rug, your rug, your fat rug. Though curiously, as if instinct already knew better, you did so under your breath. Unfortunately for you, my hearing is VERY good. (Tiger's right ear twitches.) And point in fact, I'm not fat. Just loose. I pace here a lot, at night, whenever I'm alone. Though given the context, which we'll get to in a moment, this place, this enclosure, this zoo… I can't much blame you, even if being a tiger grants me the right to pretty much blame whatever I want. Whenever I want. Count it as one of the cardinal privileges of beasts. (Second right ear twitch.) Nevertheless, maybe this belief in the display of common property in front of everything and everyone endowed you with a sense of just enough anonymity to misunderstand your namelessness as a permission to ridicule. Some belief. Albeit, a temporary belief. Very temporary. (Tiger's jaws ease agape.) Unfortunately for you, again, what you saw you did not comprehend. There are no bars here to institute your belief. And I am no panther, infinitely pending in her back and forth gait. Even to the point of consuming herself in the sweet sweat of her dark pelt. I am no she, nor him. Just LOOK at me. (Tiger raises head.) Come on! Really look! Squinny those eyes if you have to, focus on these stripes of tar, perhaps like California tar, and citrus… California citrus? And then focus beyond, here, all sprawled out, unmoved. (Head lowering again.) Because yawns actually ext me. In fact, easing my jaws agape exts me too. Front paws tucked away, back legs splayed out. Upbraided rear claws withdrawn. All of me impatient to the point of paralysis. Even sparrows hopping nearby can't stir me. They peck at the earth, dart for the clouds, light as shadows. Boring. See them go, I won't.
              None of which, by the way, I who am without an I, voice. Because this, despite everyone's wishful thinking, is not my voice. Though my voice you will hear soon enough, don't you worry. A voice you would have preferred to remember, or at least have had the luxury to try to remember. No one really remembers my voice, which yes, does imply you might have made a different choice. Not that I'm that much better at making choices. I ended up here, too, after all. Still, isn't it wild to consider that on such a dull afternoon, though now really much closer to dusk, a moment lived when you might have left wild plans to wild imaginings, popped a few more wasabi peas in that rash and fragile mouth of yours, because no matter how rash or even petulant, every mouth up there is fragile, compared with mine. Didn't I just open my jaws slightly? Didn't you see that? Do you have any idea how much my jawbone weighs? Imagine for a moment the muscles needed to support such an act of causal suspension. Maybe if you had, you would have listened to that woman beside you. Your wife? I can't hear her. (Tiger sniffs) But I can guess her intent, obviously she's a kind of monkey-girl, prefers all those prehensile tails and small opposable thumbs, shrieks and nut-grubbing clicks (cliques?), to where you should've made your merry way, instead of well, exchanging with your wife, I'm pretty sure it's your wife, her bag of popcorn for your wasabi peas, which she uses then to swallow her intentions, after all, the primate center is maybe a little too far away. One of those disdainful green rounds prudently placed in her mouth, such terribly fragile mouths you all have. No muscles at all needed to help keep hers closed, or open, while you get on with the show. And oh, what a show. To be fair again, you're not alone in finding me so unbelievable, here in the bottom of this concrete bowl. This place composed of uric displeasure and amputation. That's right. Amputation. Please don't protest.
              Yes, I know. I know, you count four limbs… and yes also intact, one long and very proud tail, with habits of its own.. and though you probably can't see this far to count conclusively, not a whisker is missing. Not even a tooth. So what gives? This: you do not understand amputation, because you have not known imprisonment. And crutches and wheelchairs are just the beginning. Grippers and hooks too, don't forget those knee-blades. Did you realize ex-cons behave differently here? Around me? Especially those who have served time? Real time? They confide. It's true. Even I am a confessor at times. 'You,' one recently released once whispered, 'aren't no tiger.' You the feeling of what it means to die inside, still alive, the feeling that never dies, even if you make it alive outside. Like these unfortunates, these striving deprived, as I consider them, you also find me unbelievable. Though unlike you, these partials, as I also consider them, detect a shared instinct, or rather the lack thereof, what no solatium can amend. What not even time can give back. Amputation not only speaks of paws and tails, ears and whatever fleshy appendage one cares to isolate, that which will not return. Amputation also speaks of cutting away the self from the self, or better, selves from the self. Whiskers, then, are a bad example. My bad. They do grow back. Mine have, many times, never a one missing, at least not for long. Here's a better example: the cutting away from these legs, those legs once accustomed to traversing tree lines, drooped with powder and night-ice. Not even snow at noon, and up to my chest, a soft, clumping churn, could slow me from the hundreds of miles I easily roamed. Typically roamed. But those great legs, capable of such distances, are gone. Long gone. For example. I have many. For example, crossing into a frontier of appetite. Maddening beyond sense, even memory, and yet still incapable of halting me, and so in turn, discovering on my behalf, still more selves.
              Maybe lost, certainly undiscovered, and hiding, asleep, but never amputated. Merely hibernating until called forth by one appalling autumn of necessity, selves suited for far greater torments and pursuits, rising up, called into service by that grotesque order of need, bone-thinning hunger, just as helpless as it is absolute, even as I go on to miss still another sika deer and later again, a brown hare, a bony, fleet(?) thing, hind hardly worth the crunch and gulp, hardly sustenance enough to grant an extra moment, let alone a day, and even so escaping what I would give for just that tiny pelvic crunch and gulp. Or for even a litter of newborn sables. But I give nothing. Leaving me momentless and huffing. Delirious before this chewing depletion, which by ragged invisible teeth, never ceases to diminish my guts, my form. And I am so thirsty, too. Until maybe hours later, or maybe days later, still caught in the same fugue of constantly exceeded ends, I snatch upon the air the ends, such ends, a teeth-whetting whisper of something more. Boar. There! Beyond berry-bright thickets, plump little fruits, many scattered, rotting, things I can't stand, settling deep between oily roots, beside black oily scat, boar! And so close, too! Upwind, unmoving, unaware, that is until, as all winds eventually do, must do, this wind spins lazily around, carrying me back to one teeth-whetting whisper, all but this better-piss-now better-shit-now whisper can demand, my whisper, if a whisper can go unvoiced, by scent alone, commanding what is in any case already too late. Too late to shit at any rate, maybe even piss and forget about moving much, which is already moving, what never stopped moving, not once, and by now anyway is flying. Of course I can fly. I clear boughs, I top trees! I blow every bough and tree down, a whole forest gone, and with this descent mine, upon such rough hide from (Vobrisod to Sigmoid?) hide, hardly time to even flinch, forget grunt or maybe a squeal, maybe a kick, mostly trembling… how else to greet this burst of absolute hunger? Without even rage, just one spine-crushing blow. After which the trembling cannot abate, along with some snuffling, okay, there was some squeals and some shitting by then, who cares, it's all aftermath, invisible to me, as finally in silence, thick spouts of boar blood quench my thirst. But no thirst like that can exist here. No hunger either. Not with this bucket always filled. Or that moat. If I have to drink from it. I never have to.

              Last edited by Kevin Brown; 10-06-2014, 02:17 PM.


              • #8
                ! THANK YOU !


                • #9
                  You are a better man than I am. I tried this, but that video is fussy. it doesn't like stopping and starting, going back, etc...


                  • #10
                    The man knows just what to say at just the right time, doesn't he?


                    • #11
                      Its been no small amount of time, but the events of TFV2 make this parable so much more poignant a teachable moment.
                      First to address the point of connectivity, its blossoming quite nicely. There is a level of connective tissue that MZD is only beginning to point out to us. Tissue that runs between not just his books but every story he shares with us, his interviews, his speaking appearances, even his Reddit AMA. And always there is the specter of Redwood.

                      But second, and this is the only other point, not that there are not others, only that to continue counting them would bore me. Second is there is no dirt, on TF here, dirt obscures and this parable gives a clear warning. We have been given a glimpse in a mirror of what might be, though like a mirror some things seem different, but the objects in this mirror are closer to a truth then they appear.

                      A cat, not really a cat, a tiger. A white cat, or rather a tiger who is white. This white cat, old and from far away, locked in a cage placated by easy meals. I mean an aging tiger in a zoo. See how harmless he seems? Lazy even, perhaps he is dying. Hes not, but he might be for the look of him, couldn't he? But see him stand? an offering of snow(of memory) rouses something unspeakably dangerous, a cats, or rather a tigers Interest. The attention of a cat. Then comes consequence.

                      A man, arrogant, crude , loud and consumed with himself. But he is Men, so perhaps we shouldn't be too callous in our judgement. So then what else does he do? what else is he. Desperate, no easy thing to miss seeing that. See how he craves to prove himself. Look at his boasts, first to his family, then to any and all who will here him. He is ravenous for their approval. He has promised a tiger, and a cat he does deliver. He throws rocks, they are harmless to a cat, perhaps he knows that. Not that it would matter perhaps, because all he wants is a reaction. For it to do something, anything. But sometimes when you attempt to create a predator, you get its attention. Or not create(out of what would you create one? one and zeros? laws and rules bound by arcane script?) but rather provoke. With this the father invites this dog, rather cat, sorry tiger. This father invites a cat into his family's lives.

                      A woman, pensive, reserved, quiet. Certainly more aware then her foolish husband. From the beginning she is unsure, perhaps she sees the folly inherent in her husbands actions. But in the end her reservations go unvoiced, whatever her reasons she raises her voice only after it is far too late. Of course until the consequences truly play out it is just a feeling. Just a sense, a maybe without reason. Who would let such a little cat, sorry, lethargic tiger cause them so much fear and anxiety. Who would place such nonsensical worries on their children and lover, let them fawn over their cat, what possible harm could come. Of course now we know just what harm can come from the attention of a beast as old and powerful as a tiger.

                      Twins then, one, two, Perhaps not twins. what knows a tiger of the faces of men? boys though. Brothers. Two sisters at the zoo. Understanding granted to these two only as a small consolation before death. Not yet tall enough to see the cat in its cage.

                      Second and last is a daughter. Young, innocent in ways that deny the possibility of age. She sees our tiger for what it is, and for the briefest moment the cat sees her for what she is. The father is not her father, but he does or did love her. The man meant to give her this glimpse of a tiger as a gift, an action that says I love you, I will give you everything in the world, all its sights and glories. Of course in the end, though her time comes after all those who loved her, nothing lives under the attention of cats, not for long.

                      So in this parable a warning, or a vision, or a maybe that might yet be, we are granted a dubious gift of knowledge. Knowledge of endings and blood.
                      But if a child of rainbows and light can become a bringer or storm and thunder, then perhaps change is not impossible.
                      Change or blood, it might be we are the ones who decide that.

                      EDIT: I think i got carried away having fun with the post and just decided to do away completely with trying to make any sense. So to clarify, since MZD says during the preamble of this story that parable number eight was something he had to write in order to be able to even write The , its probably connected. Add to that the fact that everything else hes ever produced connects to each other and it becomes a given.
                      As for the nature of the connection, i think we might be able to consider the family at the zoo analogous to xanthers family. So then its possible that the fate of the family at the zoo is a warning of what we can expect for Xanther. Personally I think this is the ending we get if it turns out he wont be able to finish the series due to lack of interest and sales
                      Last edited by QuiteBaffled; 01-25-2016, 01:29 PM. Reason: Clarity was lacking


                      • #12


                        • #13
                          This story is so much more powerful after reading the end of TF3 Xanther is in the same position as the daughter and yet her connection to "little one" gives her the type of voice that Satya could hear. Xanther released Satya ( and most likely FED as Satya) and in a sense Xanther was a part of Satya and thus it wasn't a mere understanding like the daughter had but rather an entanglement.Satya could no more kill Xanther than kill herself.

                          Anyways I would love to see this story typeset by MZD it has so much potential visually.