Alternative Culture Magazine


Alternative Literature



Untold Genesis

from Three Epistles by Paul William Gagnon

Day One:
the girl picks up a stone the size of her
fist and hurls it at the sky where it
splits the horizon in half.

one half is the moon. the other half is
the sun.

in this way the first father and the first
mother are born.

of course the girl names them, but
decides it is not important

which none she calls father
which one she calls mother.

Day Two:
the girl looks for the stone, intending
to call it love. she finds it split in half
and is forced to call one half of it
something else.

the firmament beneath the fallen stone is
split in half. the girl has to separate it: water
and earth. discovers that in doing so she has
made a permanent distinction between above
and below, and so divides them as well.

but it does not stop there.
everything divided must be divided again.
the girl goes on naming them all in deuces
cleaving everything in two with words:

wet, dry, high, low, man, woman.
sleep, awake, lost, found.
ugly, beautiful, motion, stillness.
life, death. and so on.

at first the girl finds this enjoyable, this
halfing and halfing again, the power
exercised in naming


but before long it is a tight knot over her
brow that refuses to go away. the girl can't
run from it; everywhere she goes things call
out new names, claiming uniqueness, until
the girl can find no quiet place to lay down.

worse, things begin naming themselves
picking up stones and splitting things
at random, just as the girl had done.

all night. all day. the fighting. the arguing.
the throwing of stones. the claims to
individuality. the girl covers her ears yells for
everything to "STOP!"

nothing does.

Day Three. Day Four. Day Five.

(it may be best not to speak of day three
four, or five).

Day Six:
the girl picks up another stone and hurls it
outward. she divides everything into
noise and silence.

she does not go and pick up the stone
after she is done.
the girl goes into the silence and refuses
to come out.

from it, she will spend a lifetime trying
to teach everything how to fit back
together again.

Day Seven:
the girl decides to name herself god.

she stays in the silence
but does not come out.


thanks for this submission goesto Marc Awodey--poet, critic, painter, justice of the peace (Burlington, Vermont)--the inventor of poetry vending machines, and a founder of the minimal press, a guerrilla literary movement that is active in the northeastern US.


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