f

A city in crisis, f is a city of opportunity
Once considered a failure, the city began to shrink and was soon abandoned. Eccentric inventors, exploratory gardeners, slantwise builders, systems theorists, city-foresters,
f

f

f f f f f
f

f

Fall Apart Park
f f

Fall Apart Park

v
f f f

adventurers and visionaries made a plan...
f

b

f

f f

A bridge between printed-word and digital media, Fall Apart Park is a tactical toolbox of real-world techniques, projects, insights, inspirations, and tragedies for our increasingly bizarre/glorious world.

c
Gregory Crawford

f f

o

a home-printed, hand-bound, letterpress-covered novel free of any ISBN, trademarkery, and copyrights published by a publisher with no name
printed on 100% post-consumer-waste paper

Gregory Crawford

;

Bell Cambium is mellow. No doubt she finds the world quite troubling, but she takes it in stride ‒ always silver-lined and positive. Lake Baklava is brutally frustrated. If something isn t done ‒a million somethings, actually‒ modern civilization is doomed. Despite their different perspectives, both girls feel a deep yearning to get involved, and effect the direction of humanity. Seeking inspiration, contacts, resources, and information, the girls venture to the infamous Fall Apart Park. A pair of explorers, they wander from the Park s beaten-path and discover the extraordinary secrets that make the city-park tick: a gang of radical kidarchitects who battle straight-lines and other rulers with mold and improvised building; a cemetery-turned-compostery, which energizes the city; a global-coup to rebalance the world by eliminating every central-power; and Geo Godeau, the bearded extravagant who commandeered the city as the first citizens fled, but before it was reappropriated by fringesustainability innovators and doers. When they leave The Lith, Fall Apart Park s evolving skyscraper, Lake and Bell s world will have changed ‒ as will everyone s.

A composition combining collaborative design, intuitive & living architecture, spatial relationships, industrial consequence, permaculture, food-strategies, arts, and journalism... Fall Apart Park is a critique, as well as a storehouse of suggestions. Take advantage of Fall Apart Park’s 200+ reference-hyperlinks, and dive into a book like you’ve never dove before. Explore, enjoy, collaborate.

There are no copyrights associated with this book. I do not believe in them.

A note on Fall Apart Park s references: welcome to the digital-edition, a truly integrated reading experience, where the 200+ references exist as hyperlinks. Simply click on any endnote-marked word/phrase, or flip to the references-section at the back of this book.

If you d like to purchase a physical copy of Fall Apart Park, you can1.

To make corrections/suggestions for later printings, say hello, and/or make things happen in the real world, please feel free: mistergregcrawford@gmail.com2 www.gregorycrawford.wordpress.com3

This 1st Edition: was printed in a warm and love-full house during the brightest winter,
and was modeled upon Hamish MacDonald s handmade books4 , covered and bound with the guidance of The Sherwood Press5 in Olympia, Washington, and funded on the generosity (and patience) of friends and family, for whom infinite thanks are not enough.

! !

Fall Apart Park
! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

!

! !

"
! ! !

!

!"#$%"&''(")*+%",

#$$

Honors & Homage
Highest respect to all that Fall Apart Park hyperlinks and references, draws-on and bounces-off of. Every single fascinating individual, unique idea, and inspiring project comprises this book s backbone. Chiefly, Fall Apart Park is a response to, and expansion of an idea put forth by Camilo José Vergara6 that a skyscraper ruins park be created in downtown Detroit: We could transform the nearly 100 troubled buildings into a grand national historic park of play and wonder, an urban Monument Valley... Midwestern prairie would be allowed to invade from the north. Trees, vines, and wildflowers would grow on roofs and out of windows; goats and wild animals ‒squirrels, possum, bats, owls, ravens, snakes and insects‒ would live in the empty behemoths, adding their call, hoots and screeches to the smell of rotten leaves and animal droppings. Thank you for the inspiration. Big recognition to Geoff Manaugh and Richard Register, who aroused Fall Apart Park s primary perspectives; and whom I consider personal absolute luminaries. Unadulterated gratitude to Ariel Golberger-Blau, Ian Weatherseed7 , Christian Shearer, W8, & Maina Petry for untiring attention, edits, & suggestions. A final thank you to everyone who supported Fall Apart Park s kickstarter-campaign. This book is yours, as well as mine. Honestly: thank you. Additional thanks to those individuals who decided to become Fall Apart Park characters ‒ this story benefited tremendously from your spirit and presence.

The Illustrious List of Marvelous Tacticians
Ethan Hughes (aka The Blazing Echidna - The Zing):

the creator of the Haul of Justice superhero ride and tactician of many things wonderful, including The Possibility Alliance.

Seth Martin:

a revolutionary who inspires people with his spirit-filled sing-a-long folk songs. Only 20 -or something like that- and he can get a whole huge auditorium singing along with him to folk songs new and old. Really focused on changing the world. Shane Clairborne: a radical Christian who has written books including Irresistible Revolution and Jesus for President. He has served as a human-shield in Iraq, worked along-side Mother Theresa with the lepers in India and stood up to the powers that be ‒ both in Church and in Government. He is reminding people that Jesus was a radical; and if you are not radical, that you are not being a very good Christian. Dan Griffiths, founder of ClownZero9: Dan studied clowning under Marcel Marceau and Patch Adams and now runs a clowning program which mostly clowns in hospitals around the San Francisco Area. Clown Zero is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving life for children and communities worldwide through humanitarian clowning and therapeutic performing arts. Ruthy Woodring (aka Wander Woman): Not only is she a very powerful superhero, but she is also founder of Pedal People10 , a completely human-powered waste-management and recycling company in Northampton Massachusetts. She is awesome. Grace Lee Boggs, Richard Feldman, & Gloria Lowe: one hero and two heroines who are reinventing post-automobile/post-capitalism Detroit, and assembling a whole new paradigm. Andrea Sesta & Daniela Galvani: founders of [im]possible living11 , Andrea and Daniela are building a worldwide database of abandoned buildings, so that we may begin rethinking the abandoned world and launch a new housing development model. Christian Shearer (aka CompashMan): Christian is a creator, and he s my heroic big brother.

“A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of ideas.” ˜ John Ciardi “Try to get people to stop waiting for the president to enlighten them. Stop waiting for history and the stream of historical events to make itself clear to you. You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding.” ˜ Terence McKenna

one
“It’s so hard to pay attention. Phuhgh; so hard...” Pulling the book from her nose, she inhales –oh God this twisted smell, such a rich reek... it was in dark and grime, our-minds-on-timecards-andpaychecks, that the automobiles were conceived. It was with disregarded consequences, poor child of soul-sucking labor and mind-draining repetition, that the automobiles were manufactured ...the bus brines in its pleather, in the synthetic resins and the polyvinyls– and her breath is too deep. She coughs slops. Dislodging her bare-leg from the seat, to the sound of duct-tape and tar, she glowers, “I hate this bus.” “Of course you do Lake; you always hate all busses.” Bell giggles. “You hate all the internal combusters.” Lake dips her head. “That’s true...” she says, forcing herself not to breathe so deeply again. “I do. They are the most dislocating, the most crooked creatures...” She looks into her friend, her face bittering: “Bell, do you ever get the feeling,” she pauses. “I’m beginning to overwhelm. There are just too many things to pay attention to. I feel, molested, by the world.” As those words dissolve, as even the most unspeakable must, here on the buss’s ribs, upon the riveted panels above Lake’s head, stares, for all to see, a symbolic logo. “Curses!” Lake cries. This symbol is magic, just as they’ve always been: forcing thoughts, influencing behaviors, encouraging or discouraging lifestyles. Yet, so common they are so ignored. Lake looks across the placid bus. “Unbelievable,” she mutters. The spellbindery, the modern black magic, the cultural codings... they so secretly blueprint us. Aroused, the logo catches and bends light, gliding it across its sexy swoosh before shooting it at Lake’s face; which lashes a
7

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

whine out of the girl. Her hands shoot to defend her eyes, her head stuffs into Bell’s shoulder, she mourns, quietly, factly: “I’ll never get away and I’ll never be able to forget; I’ll never have a clean head. I just can’t get away...” Sharp shivers show below her clothes. “It’s impossible; isn’t it?” Bell looks up at the logo –it seductively shines; the brilliance of its design so catchy, so hot, so stimulating– she turns away, before the logo inserts itself into her brains. “I don’t know,” she says, trying hard to suppress the foreboding that wants to emerge with each word. Not looking at it, Bell stalks; and she sweats beads reaching up to the rune. Scratching its corners, she carefully peels it from its surface. With a heavy sigh of relief, she crumples it, drops it to the floor, and stamps it out. “No worries; it’s just a sticker,” Bell lies, managing a passable laugh. But as she speaks, her eyes dart about the bus, now correctly identified as combat-geography in camouflage –a highstakes battlefield covered with underestimated dangers– where realities and futures are won and lost. The bus roars. Lake shakes her head, trying to shake it all out. “There’s just so much information everywhere... everywhere I look... I feel infiltrated, and raided, before I even know what it is I’m seeing.” This time, it’s worth breathing-in the meat-pit of the bus, so that Lake can exhale deeply, very deeply. She coughs a productive stack of rocks. “I know what you mean. I wish I had some filter, some way to control what I’m subjected to; because I can’t seem to separate all the garbage from all the gems,” Bell says softly. “And worse, I can never discard the garbage. I’m a walking pile, cause I’ve been advertised to since I was born...” “Right. I’m full of advertising. My brain’s bloated.” She disgruntles her face. “I need to get into a bubble. I need to find a secret cave, so I can concentrate.” Lake’s brows furrow. “I know, Bell: my head is a bubble; I am a cave. But it just doesn’t cut it anymore...”
8

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Well, sure.” Flipping a blonde-curl from her eye, Bell doesn’t miss a beat: “What was it Cory Doctorow12 said... ah, right: ‘There are more competitors for our attention than we can possibly reconcile, prioritize, or make sense of,’” she quotes, capping it in a single, thick nod. “How true; how debilitating... it’s a life, not a gauntlet,” Lake huffs, blinking her eyes at the world blurring by – the greens of life and the grays of street made abstractions by the action of the bus. “Anyway, what’s the use of all this information, if it’s indigestible?” She grumps. “More to the point: how am I ever going to read this?” Lake stares at the book in her hands... until she begins to feel uncomfortable and shifts her gaze out the window: the bus, the world; barreling-on, machine-gunning. Bell squints at the rectangular block. “It’s a good book?” “I don’t know,” she rapids, “I think so.” “What’s it about?” “It’s about recycling – civilization.” Her friend’s eyebrows spike at that. “I know a few countries that could be recycled...” “Don’t we all. Uhhh,” Lake says, scanning its back cover, occasionally tossing the book lightly, to feel its weight. “It’s about unchaining our society and initiating a systemic overhaul. It’s about DIY/open-source... everything, I guess... strategies for reclaiming our cities and neighborhoods... like freeing asphalted streams, destroying roads and building art with the chunks, liberating construction equipment; open-source government, opensource economy, open-source remediation...” Their spiked eyebrows meet. “It’s about designing –and seizing– present-day autonomy.” Bell squinches her eyes, “Hmmm... Sounds like a good book.” Lake snorts soft. “It does; I just can’t think straight. I feel... I don’t know,” she says looking out the window at the view on tumble-cycle, at the world, stagnationing, vacuuming her teeny,
9

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

churning brain. “Why’s this bus so damn rickety? It’s making me sick.” Bell giggles. “You know you shouldn’t be trying to read on a bus that moves like this.” “I know; I really shouldn’t be on a bus in the first place.”

TWO
To a chorus of thanks – the bus brakes, and turns from the highway. “Seems I’m not the only one...” Lake says sighing a shared relief. Coughing and spitting, the bus stumbles to a stop. Yet another substance abuser, an addict back at the pump. It’s not its fault; it really does run on the stuff. “I can’t believe we actually took a bus,” Lake says, looking ill, looking at the gas station. “What the hell are we doing?” As the busstatic fades, ears clear; a conversation from some rows ahead rises to fill the aural gap. “You know this bus is a hybrid? Super cool, huh‽ Makes me feel a whole lot better. We live really far from The Park... It’s really important to be conscious about energy and stuff.” Bell peppers the statement in a poorly-stifled laughing fit. Lake just moans. The next voice is one from across the aisle. “See:
The less fuel it takes to drive about, and the cheaper per mile it is, the farther people are willing to go. The better the mileage, the more suburbs sprawl out. The better the car, the worse the city; 66 of 73

...wild, huh? I mean, think about it... It’s true!”
10

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Yeah, interesting,” Bell says; then she recites it in an alarmingly loud voice, loudly enough for everyone on the bus to hear: “The better the car, the worse the city... what a shocking idea. Could more efficient cars actually exacerbate our condition? Could cars be inherently bad?” Her hollering scratches some heads. Returning to the voice across the aisle, Bell asks, “Hey, was that a quote?” “Uh-huh; from Richard Register13,” the voice says, fanning a hand of cards. “He inspired a lot of the Gorilla Advert Cards. He’s a real visionary. Ever heard of a book called Ecocities: Designing cities in line with nature?14” “Huh-uh.” “Oh you gotta read it. Profoundly foundational,” the voice across the aisle says. “And there’s this card:
Why not a love story? Why not a pop song? Why not a board15 -game16 ? Why not a deck of trading cards17 ; attached to consumable goods? Why not slip these architectural speculations into pop culture at large? Why not bypass clients and experts and just bring your vision to everyone? Why not expand the popular image of what constitutes architectural design... And expand and encourage the understanding of our built environment and our inevitable intimacy to it; 57 of 73

...I’d say.” “Well...” Bell huffs, all aglaze. “Is Richard Register behind that card, too?” “No; Geoff Manaugh18 is. Ever been to THE BLDG BLOG 19?” Shock: “NO?! Oho! He’s–” Lake calms, letting the words turn to wind, loosening her hold on the book. It stills; still looking the same, yet feeling a touch different in her relaxing hands. She pets its cover, traces its spine. It appears to purr. Then, she sets her eyes arace... to read all she can before the bus schlops the words back into slush:
11

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

And why is Bio-Rock worth mentioning? To quote Professor Offlogic s article20 in Steampunk Magazine21 : Professor Wolf Hilbertz22 developed a process of accretion of mineral structures by electrolysis of sea-water in the 1970 s. As Bio-Rock, the electro-deposited minerals are comparable, if not surpassing, the compressive strength of reinforced concrete... Low-voltage direct current is applied to a metallic frame (rebar, chicken-wire, metal mesh) submerged in sea water. Calcium carbonate accretion (as the mineral aragonite) occurs at up to 5cm per year on the submerged frame, sequestering CO2 in the process. Power requirements are modest, about 3 watts per square meter... Hilbertz went on to survey suitable sites located on undersea mountains that met certain desirable criteria... His aim: creating autonomous self-assembling island micro-nations.

“WHOAH!” She cracks thunderly. “Bell! Ever heard of BioRock?” Lilting her head, raising the hexy corner of her lip, she tries to explains: “Hand-made... anything –it seems– from seaminerals. The minerals stick to metal, in any shape: rebar, fencing, maybe even wire-wrapped bamboo. Just make a skeleton of metal –a frame for a boat, a grid for a panel, a wall for a house– and it’s a structure for an idea. Imagine that! What could(n’t) we build?!” “You look like you just hatched from an egg!” Bell says agiggle. Lake, still looking at Bell, continues to look at Bell; who just said... what? That she looks like she just hatched from an egg? What could that mean... A groove wrinks her forehead, curling her eyebrows like a twirled mustache. “Is that good?” she asks. “Uh-huh! Of course it is! All gooey with a fresh and sticky idea!” She shows her teeth – mimicking an ape in smile, much more than a human. Lake chuckles: “Jeah! What an idea! Sea-Crete! Wow...” Just then, the bus bearings back to life; off its break and full of drugs, back to work. A soldier with a mission, another missile on the ar12

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

tificial arteries of the earth. Cogs catch, pistons fire, tonnage torques. It screams, lurching whiplashes through its guts. Bell opens her mouth to respond about sea-crete –she had heard of it... once... in a book called The Barefoot Architect23– but before she can say it, someone else says something first: in the language of vomit. Oh the sound, yes, it’s very nearly contagious, Lake thinks, squashing her face, burping to decompress. Seeming somewhere near the front of the bus, the purge swells. The girls wince sympathetic. It climbs to painful retchings, and a cloud of stink floods the bus. Then, to everyone’s horror, the puking does become contagious. From seat to seat, mouth to mouth, row to row, vomit cascades. “It’s not surprising; busses make people sick,” Lake yellows over the pour and purge. Bell’s lips purse scoldous. The girls hold their breath, waiting for the arrival. But the wave fizzles-out near the center of the bus; a few dry-heaves, and it’s over... only the sput of the bus, that odd silent-static sounds; just-not-quitedetectable, unless you really try to listen. “At least it’s a hybrid!” the voice across the aisle yells. “What’s that supposed to mean?” snorts the guy who made the original statement about the bus being a cool hybrid. “Half-ass!” The voice’s head shakes across the aisle. “Well, you’re covered in puke. Seems like something’s gotta get gross, huh? It’s one thing or another.” “OH! Guh-ross!” Bell bellows as a plastic garbage-sized sack of barf clouds wettily across the window. “Hah!” she whoops, whipping around in her seat in time to see the sack explode in a splash, “see that?!” Lake looks to her side, to Bell, but realizes that Bell isn’t talking to her; that her friend is still talking across the aisle. Finally curious enough to ask, she says, “Bell? Who are you talking to?” “Bur,” Bell says, conveying without even mouthing: ‘Yeah: it’s a weird name.’ Shrugging a blameless shrug of: ‘You know how it is.’ “Bur’s a good kid,” she says aloud, smiling hugely.
13

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Lake leans around Bell, to see the kid across the aisle – couldn’t be more than thirteen– seeing but not weighing: the experimental haircut, all uneven and jaggy; nor all the piercings covering the face; nor the slender tattoo at the temple, an opalescent tattoo, refracting light, a jellyfish? A kind of glumpy thing, with tentacles, or ropes. Neither does she value the coexistence of masculine and feminine features: the eyebrows, the shoulders, the gender-nebulous weight proportions. She gives the kid a wave and a smile, who returns them both. She asks: “What pronoun do you prefer?” Un-shocked, Bur garnishes a smile: “Whatever you prefer. My friends call me z.” “Is... Z(h)e alone?” she silently asks Bell. “Yup. A really sharp kid.” “Ahah. Very good. Hey: you really gotta check this book out,” she says, flicking its cover, “some people are really onto some potent shit. Ecocitological.” “Eco-cito-logical! Yo.” Bell gives a single, stiff, thick nod. “Yeah, most definitely.” As Bur and Bell recover their conversation– “What other cards do you have already?” “Mmm...” Bur’s fingers flip the folder, “I have this one:
Ecocitology ‒ The science and art of investigating, describing, designing, and building healthy cities; 65 of 73

...Ha!” “Ideas sure can spread!” Bell cheers– Lake sets her eyes back into the words of the book, angling to catch the most of the fading sunlight:
Our built environment . ; . . ...one must wonder. . : . : : : what could the limits ; ; ; to our creativity possibly be . ? . .
14

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

To the bump-bumping bus, the book bobbles in her hands, awrying her eyes to land on a different chapter:
Design design designing, build, build, building and operating cities (currently) has the greatest the greatest the greatest destruct destructive impact on nature impact on nature of any any human human act iv i ty; 10 of 73

And yet:
Cities can actually actually can cities actually can build soils, can build, build, can build soils, , , Cities can actually build soils, cultivate biodiversity, re store rest ore rest lands and waters, and make a net gain a net gain net gain a net gain for the ecological health of the earth; the earth; ecological earth of the health; 11 of 11 of 11 of 73 of 73

To soothe her wounding eyes, she looks out the window. But to no comfort – hearing as eerie a portent from Bur.... “And I have this one:
The connection of the city and its particular structure to its evolution by way of its immense impact on biology and climatechange is obvious; 64 of 73

....you’d think,” Bur adds... Lake’s eyes dizz. She lids them. Nauseous. “Uck. God and Gross. My poor eyes, my brains...” she mumbly puffs. But she scuffles to read further, swamping, onslogging:
We must must must we must must make the transition to sustainable sustainable communities and cities and cities if we humans if we we humans if if if if we humans are to survive; 3 of 73
15

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Struggling. Focusing and struggling, Bell almost pulls the end of the sentence together through the jerking and the lurching of the jarring bus that’s busting her:
when we see a......... . ... you need to go beyond it... ... you need to... you need to go... .beyond it. we all have to. ...When you see a you just need to.

“Balls!” Lake booms, huruffing at the blabberousnous, rubbing her boiled and strained eyeballs. “When I see a what? Dimass ignorant bus! Balls balls balls! Read between the lines?! Huhmph! What lines?! Yeah right. What a ridiculous, cursed-ass mess!” Bur and Bell glance at each other, sharing a giggling. Lake bolts up! Shooting an ill look at the bus: its dials and receptors so calculating and prejudiced, its senses so dead, its organs so unbiotic... its smeary eyes, its heartless ribs, its contaminated anatomy, its vapor trail and offings; the built brute... what a tragic tool. “It’s so dead. What a waste,” she says. But she can’t see the tires as they bounce-back, slapping her book to the floor. “Dirty damn it,” she whistles. Suddenly the book reappears in her hands. “Thanks Bell.” But: it’s only the book and Bell’s hand; her face, her head, her body are still below the seat. “Bell? Why are you still bent to the floor?”

16

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

THREE
“Just stretching.” “Oh,” Lake says, abstractedly, resuming her wade through the literary chaos – scratching or holding her head all the while. [Pretty clean actually.] –Bell thinks to herself, striking a finger along the can’t-see-how-dirty-it-really-is-grey of the floor– [Is the vomit runneling back here? i don’t see it yet. Maybe it all went outside plastic’d. What a gnast-ass way to disintegrate: barf sun-stewing in plastic. But: it did explode... I kind of miss seeing pee on the bus floor... it’s been years and years... since middle school i bet... pee sure can cause quite a fuss... wow... though it was never me who did it; probably wouldn’t be missing it if it was... there probably is some vomit somewhere around here... boots, sneakers, boots, sandals, sandals with socks...] The tingles filling her head, Bell straightens back out, once again sitting properly in the seat. She sees Lake massaging her head and puts her hand there, too. Leaving her hand on Lake’s head, she looks around the bus at all the other heads. Sitting at the very back, she can see down the entire length of the bus, beyond all the passengers to the huge windshield the driver sits just behind. [It’s true, of course i see them; but these appearances are just so many coffers. And i hear them; but these are just sounds; like the growlings of a stomach in a dark theatre, the sound of coins dropping in a busy market, the sound of the ceiling fan, the cued clapping of a sitcom. It’s all so... normalized, that i never pay any attention. True, i don’t take busses very often, but they’re just like the metro i take every day in the city: they are for being quiet, reserved, and bored. They are for waiting, for getting somewhere else. And they are for the opposite of making friends; they are for staying strangers. And so everyone stays nobody. But every one of us are actual people, with real lives full of passions, memories, perspectives, and secrets. But all these treasures, they stay hidden. And all we are given instead, are generalized shallows.

17

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Like that fellow... his throat-bound collar, electric-razor straight-edge hair/ neck-line, just behind the driver... standard-issue, a business man, a working man, a success... a real sharp looking piece – smart, clean, strong, confident. But these are the most generic observations. i want to see past those, i want to see all his secrets. Maybe he cries at night, or during the day in his locked office. Maybe he has a recurring nightmare: his life. Maybe he curses his car to pieces, stuck in traffic, lost in traffic, alienated by this weird, modern, and unsubstantiated traffic. Maybe he is the hungriest for change; but crumped insane because he feels he must hide it. Maybe he is casing his workplace –the bank, the factory, the hot-tub retail store– so he can strip-it, split, and vanish... to build a multi-tiered treehouse in Hawaii, so he can stare at waterfalls all day long... keeping his hair cut basic, obviously not wanting to identify himself with any easily-remembered features. Maybe he works that 9-to-5 to support his severe and premium model-airplane habit... Maybe he is a closet complexographer. Maybe he is another Henry Darger24 . I get the feeling the world is actually super-full of Henry Dargers... And the boy sitting next to him: dirt-mussed hair, the unkemptness, the massive beard, the dreadlock’d sideburns. He’s an activist, right? A dipstick hippie? An idealist? A head so open, it’s fallen out. A rebel, a grenade. Maybe. But maybe-more, probably-not. Maybe he doesn’t know his rights, and doesn’t care. Maybe he is a leader of The Pirate Party25, and dreams of powerful economic incentives to encourage/force businesses towards accountability at night; instead of cursing those who pillage and rape the world like whorable beasts, instead of condemning the US government as a big, deceitful, lying, shit-stain; instead of screaming about the spills which they leave spilling, about the pills they market down our throats. Maybe he just came from an atomic-punk dress-up party with a grand prize of a thousand starpicks. Maybe he knew he could size-up, could bell-and-whistle and win the prize, finally be able to get his house a new coat of paint. Maybe his grandma likes him best this way – maybe she would reject him if he soaped. Maybe he took an oath years ago, in a Chibetan monastery, to never look into the mirror again – so he doesn’t know how gnar his hair really is. Maybe he breeds cats, costumes them for competitions, and dotes and pampers and idolizes his or18

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

namental frog garden and lobster pools. Maybe he has a television in the bathroom, to watch while he whiles away on the toilet, flushing it over and over, even though it really is empty, but best to make sure it’s actually clean, and not shitty. Maybe he can’t wait to get home, to simmer some soup a long time, thick it right, bake some doughnuts, glaze them slow, and visit his grandpa; all in its due, right time. Who knows, who knows... And her, sitting behind them: nose in her laptop... Her canvas backpack, the LaserCave26 pins on it... Oiling her lockpicking skills? Her black ski-mask bunched around her tufty-hair... Hacking? Writing another petition against trademarking terms like urban homesteading27; writing it in big, bold, free letters. Reading The Glass Bead Game28? Mining Bitcoins29? Writing a new program, writing a new novel? Preparing for her next lecture for her lowtechnotech class? Behind the lid there is always a secret... The world isn’t black and white anymore. Instead, this world is a world of maybes. And way more maybes than maybe-nots. Certainty doesn't exist. And probably is trickery. Any likelihood –like ten-to-one– is an ass in nine; as in one-for-all. Like: is that white girl a few seats up from Estonia? Maybe Iceland? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe she’s Brazilian; it’s just as likely. ...all the languages, all the tribes in the ‘African’ ‘countries’. All the minorities absorbed, making ‘Russia,’ Russia. As if ‘Brazil’ speaks for the uncontacted people30 . Are they Mexican if they don’t speak Spanish? Are the hundreds of ethnic minorities in China really Chinese, if China is exclusively run by ‘communists’? The 500 Nations31... of ‘Indians’?] Bell’s head cocks. She sees the straight-edger, the hippie, and the girl all talking to each other. A surprise? Shouldn’t be. Her mind skips, imagining what they could be talking about... Her eyes refocus, re-realizing that the bus is so full of people, so loaded with such exotic and splendid treasures... [The heads
19

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

look just like heads. And they wobble and toss like bobbers reeling from a bite; they ride the blue vast like bottles with bellies of hidden messages; they toss softly like potatoes in a roily boil. So what are you? Bobbers, bottles, or potatoes? At least i know who someone is on this stink-machine...] Bell glances across the aisle to her neighbor, Bur. “Hey,” she says. “Yeah?” “What would you prefer to be: a bit-bobber, a bottle with a message, or a boiling potato?” Z isn’t as flustered as she imagined zhe might be. “To be?” Bur double-checks. “Yeah. To be.” Bell nods an affirmative. A few moments pass. Z looks out zis window. [...maybe looking at the sky, concatenating the clouds, maybe counting them... in Khmer?] “What do you prefer?” Bur asks, a tilt to the head, a curious bird. “A bottle with a message,” she says it quickly. “Errr... uhhh. No. Not today. Today, I’d prefer to be a bobber. Yeah, a bitbobber.” “A potato. Potatoes are my favorite food – so adaptable,” Bur decides. “Right,” she says.

20

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

FOUR
Snapping her out of her wonder-sesh, she hears Lake say: “We sure botched our cities... why aren’t our built spaces inspired by ecocitology?” She says it burpily, cause of the clop-plop of the bus. “Why aren’t our cities doing good? Why do we keep designing, and operating them, so clumsily? Why are we so slow... What a catastrophe.” She pivots her forehead on the glass to see what’s left of the light outside. Little. “They could be such wonderful places... they need to be. They deserve to be...” Her eyebrow draws a curious curtain: “They are organisms; our cities are organisms32 . Every city has a circulatory system in its markets, streets, and rivers – a brain in its universities and think-tanks – a digestive system in its waste-treatment plants and recycling centers – muscles in its industrial centers... But: the rabid consumption, the obsession/need to grow or die, the... loneliness, the corruption, the blind, and the absurd. We are practically doomed and dead already; the situation is so bleak...” She fake smiles, putting her face back into the book. A moment, then Bell responds: “Cities are crucial... They are hearts, and minds. They are epicenters. We share everything in the city: materials and resources move around the city, sure; but so do ideas, and inventions, and fears...” Lake picks-up, adding to the list, “Skills and abstractions and myths...” A verbal brainstorm swirls in the back of the bus – Bur’s making the third voice. “Recipes; plants and animals, and pets; seeds. Genes... germs, diseases, pollutants, poisons, biases, blights... dreams, and desires, and hallucinations, and fantasies, and crutches...” Lake’s hair turns away from the book, but a blonde curl stays upon the page: “Right:” Lake remembers where she was going, “our cities have personalities, and faces. Skin and bones. They have habits... And –most important– we give them these... But –
21

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

still– there’s still more than that...” Lake looks down, adrown in deep desperation, trying to tackle Jupiter. Bell tries to help, tries to make Lake’s hurricane solid, to balance her growing anguish: “I think we’re still in the process of figuring out exactly what they are; what our buildings are, what are built environments are; still deciphering what our relationship to the intentional space around us actually is... still discovering: just what we have made, what code we have entered, what program we have framed ourselves in.” Bell says it carefully, letting the words suggest a future, a different future, than what appears increasingly likely; as if, perhaps, one day, we will make all the amendments, put right all our forebear’s wrongs, and become honorable and worthy of life and living. Yet she makes it quite clear that we aren’t doing that now, nor do we know how. Still in despair, Lake continues: “Our built environments are the physical manifestations, the concrete creations, of... us. And when we say they are filthy, noisy, unmanageable, complicated, and chaotic, we know where they got it from.” A silence sprouts; swells... it balloons, snowballs-mushrooms and breaks to: “Our legacy...” Both the girls flinch at Bur’s voice, their reverie cracked by zis musivity. “Reminds me: I watched a documentary called Into Eternity 33 the other day – haven’t seen it? It’s about deep-time design...” Bur’s tone softs: “We need to store our nuclear waste. Because it’s catastrophically toxic for 100,000 years, we’re shooting for a design which will last at least that long.” “A hundred thousand years...” “Right. 100,000 years. Think about it; it’s impossible. And so, the film follows how we ought to go about building something that could last this long. The film is interesting for a lot of reasons, but the most amazing one is this: our mark on this planet, the part of us which will last the longest, the only thing left –from us– is toxic waste. Toxic waste. Toxic waste is our legacy.” “Whoa,” everyone says.
22

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Toxic waste could be the very worst substance on the whole planet. We couldn’t write a better myth to summarize our civilization.” The girls slouch in their seats, weighed down further by further boulders. Lake chews her tongue. Bell’s eyes slam shut. The machine that has swallowed them purrs ooze. A silence like a leafblower scrapes annoys; taunting a koan, but it’s just an empty and repetitious sentence. Stuck, Bur’s words shock them back: “I’m super excited to see this Fall Apart Park.” A snake of shivers shinnies Lake’s spine. “What luck! Going to Fall Apart Park on its opening day, for The Inauguration...” Bur’s face rascals, “it’s going to be pretty real.” Agrimickle, nose a sharkfin, a facefull of shagreen, Bur howls, “It’s going to be the biggest bash!” The bus keeps its careen. “Yep. It’s gonna be wild.”

FIVE
The dark is getting late. Turning the book in her hands, Lake discovers a small, thin envelope stealthing between its jacket and cover. Opening it, she finds three small cards. Business-sized cards. Gorilla Advert Cards. “Look at these...” Seeing them leaf-out on Lake’s hand, Bur hoots: “Oho!” “Hey...” Lake says longly, like she just lost/found something. Lake and Bell read the first out loud:
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have designed a new concrete that will last 16,000 years. Called ultra-high density concrete, or UND, the material has so far proven rather strikingly resistant to deformation on the nano-scale - to what is commonly referred to as creep.
23

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

This has the effect that a containment vessel for nuclear waste built to last 100-years with today s concrete, could last up to 16,000 years if made with an ultra-highdensity concrete. 16,000 years worth of parking lots. 16,000 year s worth of building foundations. Perhaps this simply means that we re one step closer to mastering urban fossilization; 42 of 73

“What!?!” Lake’s eyes blossom: “All this talk of nuclear waste is going to kill me!” “But ‘urban fossilization’ is neat,” Bell says, looking into the card like a spacious landscape. And another card:
The residents of the titular block descend into madness and even cannibalism, inspired ‒or perhaps pushed‒ by their inexplicable surroundings, marooned there twenty floors above the surface of the earth, confined with their own neuroses on the edge of The City; 17 of 73

“Jesus...” “Yeah. And this is the last card we got:
You should be trying to silence me. You should be scared; 0 of 73

“Well. Uhhh... Hmmm.” A jittering causes them to look at Bur, face a smile. “Lake: mind if we give those cards to Bur? Z is collecting them,” Bell props. “You know, I’ve seen those cards before... somewhere else...” the book joggles in her hands, as she stares abstractedly at the roof of the bus, but she can’t remember from where. “Collecting them, huh...? Makes sense; they are numbered. How many... For sure; of course; Bur can have them.” Bell takes the three and passes them to Bur, who drops an exclamation and shoots a hand into zhiz backpack.
24

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Thanks! I read about these cards being sprinkled all over The Park! What a neat idea... can’t wait to piece them together...” “Hey Bur, wanna read a few cards for Lake?” They all lean in:
It s a serious concern when the resource that holds our cities transportation systems together, heats and cools our buildings, provides fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and tractor fuel for our food production, makes our fibers for our clothes and plastics for thousands of uses, paves our streets and covers the roofs of our homes and workplaces... practically everything depends on oil; 4 of 73 Wow! Can we really build something like that?; 12 of 73 Among other things, what makes J.G. Ballard s fiction34 so spatially valuable is that he explores the psychological implications of everyday non-places ‒ like parking lots, high-rise apartment towers, highway embankments, shopping malls, well-policed corporate enclaves, and even British suburbia. Ballard35 described these spaces in terms of their effects: how they mutate and rearrange the mental lives of their inhabitants; 16 of 73

Suddenly there’s a tugging at the girls’ legs, below their seat. It’s a young boy. How young... it’s hard to tell in the dim light, and it’s kind of hard to see below the seat at the angle anyway. Its fluffy head squeezes and pops between the girls’ shins, between their knees. His eyes are bulging. “WOW! I can’t believe I am finally going to Fall Apart Park! Can you believe it?!” The girls smile back at him. Bell says, “No! Absolutely not,” embroidering the words by leaving her mouth open in ghast, widening her eyes in deep shock, staring at him, in bright simplicity.
25

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

The child spasms and convulses, flopping in excitement, hitting its head on the seat above him. “My dad says that The Park is really fun! He says we‘re gonna have a blast!” he hoots, nodding his head ferociously. “Don’t you have fun everyday? You’re a kid,” Bell says, patting his head. “No. Of course not,” the boy says all abstractedly. His head tweaks. “My dad said that Fall Apart Park is like Disney Land! You know my dad?” “Uh...” “He said we should take this bus to The Park, because it’s a hybrid! That’s because our car is really bad. He yells at it all the time and says he has to throw money at it just to keep it quiet.” “I guess he doesn’t like to hear the car talk,” Bell says, winking. “Well, no. Of course he doesn’t. None of us do,” the boy says. “But we sure do spend a lot of time in it. Not that I care; because we just got a T.V. for the car! Yes!” “But there’s no T.V. on this bus,” Lake says. “Duh. That’s why I brought this,” the kid says, pulling the little screen from his pocket. He flashes it like a badge. “Yeah. It’s awesome.” “Hey. See any vomit down there? You know everybody’s been barfing?” Bell asks. At that, he lets out a sharp cry and disappears with a poof. “Well: Bell? What cards did you get?” Lake asks. “Oh yeah! I have a few of those cards, too because I bought a copy of that book also... How could I not: Community Supported Literature36!! What a great idea... Even if there is an electronic edition online for free – and the free audio book 37,” Bell pauses, looking like she’s thinking something. “Or: maybe because there is an electronic edition online for free38. You know, Cory Doctorow39 really makes a lot of sense.” She looks at Bur. “Heard
26

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

of him? Cory Doctorow? Really smart essays on publishing40, copyrights41 , and awesome stuff like that42 .” A finger in her ear, Lake says, “I heard one time: to memorize a new word a person has to hear it eight times – on average of course; and that it also takes hearing the author’s name eight times to buy the author’s book. Though... maybe less if it’s digital.” Z jots the name in a notebook scribbling near-illegibly, the sound of pen on paper clapping right and solid like pen-to-paper ought, muttering, “I can imagine,” quick to look back-up, cueing at the book in Bell’s hands, eyebrows twittering, trying to get her to read her Gorilla Advert Cards... But they’re still talking about community supported stuff. “There should be Community Supported Everything’s,” Lake says, making a face. “Well, at least there’s agriculture43 (CSA’s44); vegetables with flowers and fruit45; bakeries46, too; and mushrooms47, and honey48; and culture boxes49. So cool that someone is making culture boxes.” “Yeah, but everything; you know: medicine, clothes, technology, arts, everything. Everyone should be able to receive, and support, locally,” Lake says, all fired-up. “Sure. Local. Everyone knows how important it is. But, do we really need a phrase like ‘community-supported’ to umbrella all these neat ideas under?” Bell says. Lake’s eyes open wide. “Oh yeah!” she says in red alert. “Wal-Mart –Wal-Mart for crying out loud– is making a ‘sustainably-produced’ label!” Her mouth hangs open, staring at Bell and Bur, her head shaking in a slow no. “Sustainable for who? For ever? Yeah right! They don’t know sustainability from Shinola.” “But, maybe Wal-Mart can save us!” Bell sarcastics, cackling crazy. “Thank you Wal-Mart! What nobility!” Bur giggles, shaking zhis head.
27

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Yeah, laugh about it. But you know it, too: sustainability’s already been buried along with ‘natural’, ‘organic’, and all those other ruined words,” Lake says, terribly bothered, blinking weights. “Maybe they weren’t good enough in the first place,” Bell says. “Whatever. They were just fine. They were exploited and polluted, just like everything else,” Lake says, trying to control her breathing. “Profit motives. Always. When saving the earth is profitable, then they’ll do it,” she says, her face slumping into a scowl, her shoulders drop. “Foul,” she grumbles. “Shameless and foul...” “Anyway,” Bell says, stretching the ‘any’. “Community supported is the best way to launch a project; keeping it local and core; proper. That way, no banks get involved,” Bell says. “Banks: Bah! Bureaucracy: Yeah right.” Lake scoffs. “What a joke. ‘Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, he can rob the world.’50” “You know Kickstarter51, right?” Bell says, looking at Bur; she sees zhe nod an affirmative. “It basically is ‘Community Supported Everything’.” “Kinda,” Lake says. “But, a friend of ours–” “Christian Shearer 52?” Bell asks, making sure she knows. “–uh-huh; he’s going to open a new crowdfunding site, called We The Trees53 , explicitly to fund social, environmental, and educational projects.” “You know what? I have heard about We The Trees... there’s a project in Fall Apart Park that was launched through it. But, uh, hey: what about those cards? I’m really itching.” Zhe nods rapids, “we’ll talk about community supported dot, dot, dot54 after?” Bur’s eyes big, and zee grows a grin. “Plus, I wanna tell you about a book I wanna write.” “Sure. Just don’t forget to remind me; there’s way too much going on; I’ll forget,” Bell dimples. The book opens in her hands; but instead of the cards, a map of the park drops from its pages,
28

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

flip-flip-splaying into a pen-and-ink centerfold... their heads skew, curl on their shoulders, their eyes tuning themselves to the words... the map is upside-down. The paper rotates and the list of landmarks are right-sided-up. A Map: all their eyes are captivated. They follow the Map like a spell, under a spell, in a spell. Reading aloud, they invoke each placename, sounding life into the words, like summoning creatures, standing over the Map like a steamfull cauldron. Each name sounds different off the tongue. Inside their heads, they imagine. They ideate the lettered-names into realplaces, envisioning what they could be... their musings surmise: The Bonescape: bone scrape? bones cape? a new Bone Thugs album? a landscape of bones? a cemetery? Fundamental Boulevard: the main street? the strip? The Compote: fruit compote? compost? EyeScream: eye scream? a funhouse? some kind of scary ride? eyes’ cream? what? an ointment shop? ice cream? The Church of Luminescence: a church of light? a collapsing church? The RealiTea House: a cafe/multi-use event space? affiliated with The Brutal Regime Tea Company? Crinkledagger Bittergourd: uh... The Junktion: a crossroads? a trashed ion? a broken junction? The Patch: a stain? a period of time? a cover? a band-aid? a repair? a mend? an allotment? an assignment? The Buckle: belt-buckle? buckle-up? something breaking? some protection? buckle down? The Lith: photographic film with a very thin coat of emulsion, producing images of high contrast and density? Or, having something to do with stone? The Crown: the top of The Park? some fancy, chic spot? an old headdress from an tribal king? a studded, gilded princess’s crown? The Mountain (no entry): dangerous? why is it off-limits? some kind of liability? Their enchantment fades when they finish the list of names. Just like a broken charm, jewels dash the floor. They look up from the yellow-bricked-road, and remember where they are. In the bus. The bus slaps them in the face. In the teeth. It says, “This is where you are.” The words snap inside their ears like brittle
29

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

branches breaking. “The world and these... these cities, are hideous; and you know it. They’re a disaster. You’re a disaster. Look at them, the Rust Belt55, the suburbs, the abandonments, the transportation system; for shame, such disgrace. Detroit56 , and all the others were built on me, and they will die on me. You’ll never clean this... It’s too big and you are too small, stupid.” But it’s not as simple as that... Lake intones internally... Because, it’s more complicated57 than that – so much more58... so much more interesting59 than that... so much more incredible60 than that... so incredible61... The bus rollocks. Like a darted dinosaur, the gargant lurches. Hurtling towards the ditch, horrified mouths rip screams. The driver wretches a curse, pushing his weight into the wheel, trying to force a correction. Then all of the sudden, as if nothing’s wrong, the bus dociles and the diver regains. But now, a snickerous thrumming accompanies the engine’s hum. “Yuck,” Lake ughs. Butterflies keep dying into its windshield, paintballing the glass in greaseous juice. Apparently not satisfied, the bus continues gouging the girl: “The world is rotting, and the deaths are appalling. The cities are reduced to sadness, disgusting. It disgusts you. It slaps you. Your grandfather slaps you. Spit rust, spit shit, and die, too. How many people do you know who have died in car wrecks... and you call them accidents! Yet: yet, you keep driving, and driving, and driving –that’s how it works with you– you drive until you die. You act like I’m not going to kill you.” Dropping her wince, Lake realizes she is squeezing the book to her chest. Removing it eases the angst in her. She looks at it, and begins to smile; a whole new city, a whole new world only waits invention. Never has such opportunity existed... As if everything has reached the end of the cycle, everything is about to change. The possibilities, the secrets. Lake looks at Bell, and at Bur; all their eyes blur, like looking into the deep distance, through the walls of the bus, and over the highway, beyond the boring buildings that now crowd, trying to drab them down. They let all
30

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

their fantasies, all their dreams, all their childhood blooms swoon them amoon. Hearts-shooting-stars. The world is up for transformation.

six
The sun dies, once again done bathing the pavement that suffocates the earth cold and quiet. Buried beneath, all the greenery comatose, all the seeds refrigerated. Finally, with the last of the pinked and bruisey sundown light, Bell reaches for the cards enveloped in her book; and Bur’s beaded brow breathes a blush. But just then: the lights in the bus go out, making reading a headache. Bur smothers a bawl. “Sure hate how they do that... just all of the sudden... I always seem to be doing something when the lights go out.” The two girls kick back their chairs and bury into the blankets, shielding the air-con. Bell feels her hands handling the little envelope housing the cards. She nudges Lake and whispers to Bur; at a strike, a glowfull bead splashes light like milk. The bead touches a wick, turning it on. Bell’s hand holds a candle, lighting the cards; Bur cheshires. As the lightstick twirls saberly, Bell smirks above the beam; appreciative, feeling smart to have thought to pack it. The three cards rotate under the circle of light; they susurrate in sync. First:
This landscape has been there all along, but suddenly, once it is actually used and occupied, not overlooked or denied, its alien contours become all to clear; 62 of 73

Second:
31

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Sometimes just making yourself at home is revolutionary; 46 of 73

And third:
Over the course of a 150-minute film, audience members will miss an incredible fifteen-minutes simply through the act of blinking ‒ but also that people watching a film tend to blink at the same time. It s called synchronized blinking . And it means that we subconsciously control the timing of blinks to make sure we don t miss anything important ‒ with the addendum that, because we tend to watch films in a similar way, movie-goers often blink in unison. That is, they blink during non-critical moments of plot or action, creating a kind of perceptual cuttingroom floor. But what about zoning for blinks? Can you zone a building for maximum blinks? Or perhaps the opposite: a new genre of architecture, specially designed for Halloween fun-houses, in which it s too stressful to close your eyes even for a microsecond... 56 of 73

Lake’s spine twists pops. She breathes deeply: audible internalization. The air around her soothes soft in her waves. Bell passes the cards to Bur, to add to zee’s collection, and blows the light out. The two girls coze low, deeping into relaxing; wrapping into comfort, two kittens pawing padding. It’s quiet; although it’s never actually quiet: the machine drives a hum-hymning blueprint into the collective subconscious... ...the eyes so heavy, wilt to a close. Only a whinny seesaw from somewhere near the front: certainly in the throws of some absurd dream. Asleep, or not. ...thick and cushy, the night swathes the bus, tucking it in as it continues its tumble and tumble across the earth’s surface; across the material, those stones and pebbles fetched from somewhere by
32

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

someone, a real someone, finally set to rest into the clearcut runway... Lake slices into the sound of so many marching tires: “Isn’t it weird...” “What?” “This story, this city-park, it’s already real –right now– actually. It’s a reality. People are suffering, animals are going extinct, habitat is disappearing, old-growth trees are falling, oil is spilling, water is all the time more scarce. Food is privatized. So is education, and opportunity. And health. Big business owns the government, and money owns too many people...” she shakes her head sadly. “Inhumane humans, civilization uncivilized... We are such self-centered, opportunistic gluts. Ghettos, slums, concentration camps... the Great Pacific Garbage Patch... these places are real. Why are we so fucked-up?” “Yahp; it’s true.” She moves an invisible hand, in invisbled dark. “But what are we supposed to do?” “And, how are we supposed to do it fast enough?” Lake’s words break, she huffs a cloud of carbon dioxide into the air. “I want to do something... useful. I want to actually do... something. I want to understand; and I want to...” “What if we,” Bell’s words cut Lake’s short, and her hand waves, encompassing the whole wide world, “really tried? What if we spent our time, trying...” “I don’t know. I don’t even know what that would look like...” Twenty seconds of mulling, of grappling and grasping pass. Of breathing, of sitting, pass. “Remember ‘The Sarajevo Survival Guide 62’?” Lake breathes. “Still so lost for words...” “Ahhhh: today; what a blatant fart –so crude.” She moves her leg, stretching it with a sigh: “Who can really say that the world isn’t falling apart?! Now. Today. Everyone knows it is. Our ship is sinking; our planet is suffering.”
33

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“It’s true; and it’s exactly why it’s all so compelling... The City; Fall Apart Park... it’s making the same joke. The City is just a parody, a simulation. It’s mocking the ‘state of the world’, and all its problems. Fall Apart Park is simply decorating the shit and parading it as amusement... and education.” “Right; that’s why I want to go to The Park, too. I want to see the play.” With peculiar tastes on their tongues, they say goodnight. Only the static sounds like an underwater blowtorch as the cyclic tires round the chassis on. The gas, the chug, the momentum... The girls sleep steeply; the bus grumbles on... car lights still whiz by, streaking lines on the glass. Lake wakes, book in hand... car-light streak-lit:
Welcome to the future... Imagine: six City blocks left to crumble, left to collapse... left to fall-apart. Imagine scores of plants; hosts and parasites making their home in the ruins of ours. A City who is crumbling, fracturing, and shattering. What will happen when it breaks? Come see...

Pages breeze... leaflet leaf litter...
Architecture surrounds us at all times, everywhere; we live within shaped environments. From airports and shopping malls to blockbuster action films, from Bioshock and prison camps to the canopies of giant sequoias, there are structures and spatial frameworks everywhere. Mars rovers are architectural; they are structured explorations of a landscape and space. Haunted house novels are architectural. Mt. Everest base camps, Tokyo storm drains, abandoned bio-warfare ranges in the former Soviet Union, and the inaudible songs of Libyan sand dunes; 47 of 73

“Whatever could be next...” she dream-speaks...

34

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

seven
The sound of the engine dies. It’s the absence of sound, the clarity that wakes the girls. They wake well. They look out, through the window: busses, busses, busses, busses, and some cars peak between the busses. What a parking lot! The entrance to The City is a horrific parking lot. The metal brutes snarl and fart. As if nothing is wrong, as if it happens every day... As if they are all so super used to the fumes, the smell of oily shits, the passengers compose themselves in relative peace and quiet; arranging the hair, the presentation of the face, collecting their backpacks, their cameras, their children, their miscellanea... Bell slops a finger into her eyes, making little squishysqueaks, rolling them around, coaxing the eyes to re-veyev. Lake yawns huge and slides a slow hand along her shoulder, her chest, her heart, around her torso, slips a hand into her cut-off ’s –jagged and random like knifed cut-offs tend, not leveled and straight like scissords are– it returns with a pocket-watch and upon its unpinged spring, it says something: something too early. They grog up, about, and off the bus... It takes actually tripping to see them: the roots. Bell flips over the first, saving the ground from her chest with her hands. Roots leviathan, looping snakes through the concrete. The roots bulge, bust, and splash the stone liquid. Now the girls see that so many of the busses are parked at bizarre angles, lilting, hillocked, because they are parked on top of the massive tendrils. “But where are the trees?” Bell says, rubbing her hands together. They see the high-rises –must be the hotels and the souvenir shops and such; the parasitic, pop-up economy– towering above the automotive hullabaloo they are surrounded by. The bus driver stares at his cargo: the bodies. He points, “That way.” The sun –the little nip the clouds can’t keep– glistens
35

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

the driver’s plasticky head. He turns, and leaves. His arms flopping like loogies. Surrounded, Bell and Lake thread themselves about the bussy beasts, angling, at times double-backing, towards the entrance. Stepping over, and on bulgy concrete and erupted roots. The passengers follow their lead, curlycue-ing cross the lot. “Must be an absurd view from one of those huge hotels... All these car-casses like loafs of, like piles of... of... of like I don’t know what...” Bell says, apparently still waking-up, scrambling over a particularly thickly freed root. “And all these people anting. Some day, maybe when we leave The Park: a rooftop and rum and booch63; a museful, relaxed session to reflect and... distill...” Lake dazes. Bell just smiles. And then they see it. The wall. The super, super tall wall; Bell instinctively wonders how she might be able to clear it, maybe sticking it with dynamite, fantasies of ogres and battling rams and ents spring, but to no avail, the wall gorges all... The wall is too much a wall. It’s very being stating such definitivity; in – out. To pass it in any trickery, with any applied espionage, no, subterfuge, no. Teleporting across the universe would be easier. Preparing a curry without any spices would be easier. The wall just kills the imagination, it blinds it. Severing space, defining place, the wall is king. “That, is definitely not, a half-wall...” “No, it is not. That wall is most certainly a full-wall. Funny, I’ve never really thought about what a wall is, I somehow seem to have overlooked what it does, what it’s for. To me, now, it seems such a spatial lord. It commands our abilities of perception with such an obviousness, it’s so factual, so matter-of-fact... yet so oddly natural – like it’s just part of the world now.” The wall and the doors slowly come into focus. Just nearly reaching them, the visitors see the welcome sign, leaning at an acute slant –all bent and misshapen; a grand cinema marquee. The
36

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

off-white board –the felt-backed, black lettering, the red-bordered advert– warns the arrivals:
As we build so shall we live; 69 of 73

They both see Bur unpocket a tiny journal [a passport?... expired? must be...] and scribble the 69th into it. Each step up to –and by– the greeting marquee, still saying the same thing... “As we build so shall we live,” so many mouths recite, trying the words on, feeling their slip, touching the idea with their lips. “Heady,” says Bur. “We will determine the next generations’ lifestyle by the way we build. And, therefore, we are living –now– the way we were built to.” Still stretching their bodies awake, Bell and Lake entertain themselves listening to these and more mutterances. Stepping beyond the marquee reveals The City’s entrance gates in full. The two monstrous doors are skyscraping. They loom, dousing the visitors in shade. Massive, wooden doors: its decorative metal adornery –saucers and scrollwork and studs– patinating. Flanking either side, the brick walls nearly disappear down the distance, reaching high, high-up-into the sky, revealing nothing from the City Park it keeps. Bell wiggles up, onto her tiptoes, hopping, craning her neck, [knowing she can’t, but still] trying to get some kind of view [anyway]. Lake looks for and finds that boy, the one crabbing under the bus seats... He’s spasming. “He looks possessed,” Lake says. A massive woman who –by the way she stands, like crowdcontrol, herding her little chickies along, and her compassionate, but gravy-esque posture– must be the kid’s mother shoves a few pills from a bottle into the kids mouth. A slurp on a Coke and the kid dulls. Lake shakes her head in wonder: how on earth. “Parents, professionals, and prescriptions,” she curses. “What’s that?” Bell asks.
37

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

But a tall, long movement takes their attention: a schism sparks between the doors: creak, crack, moan. Open. A voice volcans from the other side, slaughtering the crowded crowd in surprise, catching everyone off-guard, off-balance, off. The voice megaphones. “Step over the threshold and accept this City; cast foot upon this portentous promenade... It seems you just must come along this caustic causeway...” Punctuated by a nasty yowl; stubborn, fading so slowly, just like the thick-oil inside a can, never really going away. “Nasty...” slips Bell through her ticky teeth. “Spooked?” razzes Lake. The voice racks a wet laugh; each face recoils as if contaminated. “Disgusting,” the crowd says, on toes, leaning towards the doors. They lean... and initiate their collective momentum. The girls and the crowd, pass through the hulk-of-an-entry; each stepping a touch slower as they pass through, able-ing and angle-ing to see the doors’ height from directly below. Cattling the funnel, the busload scuffles through the portal...

eight
Through the massive, massive doors. And on its other side... A magnificent stump, golden-aging and glowing. Ancient, to be sure; but clean, detailed: as if with lots of rags and lots of patience. “Is it... buffed? And oiled?” “Looks real buffed. And oiled...” All 10+ meters of it. Upon its top, a beaming smile sits, in paint, on a boy’s face... The ancient stump could be called a chair if only because the boy, is in fact, sitting on it. Yet, the weatherwork wrought upon it
38

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

over the decades, does, actually, evoke a kind of ‘chairness’. The chair certainly is unconventional; but it really does make a sensational chair. Five stones step to the chrysanthemuming peak, and at each step wild flowers live. And some small ferns and mosses, too. A few hundred mushrooms –maybe a dozen varieties– furcoat the perch. About the base of the fantastic chair –standing in a patch of day-glow flowers, and a dicey cairn of stones, defying convention, yet continuing to stand like that– is a canvas, calligraphed to say:
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer; 29 of 73

And there’s a tablet next to the canvas, too. It poems:
There are millions of interesting speculative ideas out there, with people re-imagining what their cities could be, but the problem is precisely that no one is building them; 20 of 73

And there’s dozens of condoms, a preposterous medium lettering a sentence:
Oil production peaked in the united states in 1971; 9 of 73

Most are already looking at the boy, and/or at his ‘seat’. But when he laughs –this time cream as caramel, happy as an heirloom tomato; so unlike that last laugh, so raunchy– every eye is given him. He flashes a theatrical smile, garnishing the crowd confetti’d. An applause erupts! They stomp and bay like piggies pitting. He stands –body flagpoling, hat flap-flagging in the sky far above them– grinning demonstratively. Then he sits again; staring at the crowd-cloud below. Still grinning: some specks of subtleties twinkling in it, just-just visible; shrouded by the lip’s corner, imbedded in the gums, there. Either he wears his brain on his face or: he has such masterful command over each fiber, each filament,
39

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

each cell of it. Actors on a stage, tools in a box... And these twinkles, the guiley expressions, they read just like subtitley thoughtbubbles, and they speak of illogicality and grotesquery, of phantasmagorias and intrigue, of seary ironies, of yearnings, of fervor, of masquerades, of epic epochs. The crowd thrills, they get juby, they swoon. They see, and feel, phantastic. Then, a change. His smile mutates: a twist worms, a grain of a barb grows, a sneer wakes; a dragon stretches. They all grow, visibly, outswelling their lodgings... What began as some specks scattered across his face, have become a circus, a zoo, intangle. He tantamounts an appearance nutty as a buttered Baggins, as screwy as Scrooge backstroking in his gold. He –or a parrot, or something– squawks, rollicking the leaves around the trees. And then, another change: the smile crashes. The swirl of mayhem, just, drops. It slides off his face, like a shorelined bank. And still there, maybe laying underneath that whole production all the while, his original smile of theatricality and brio. Now though, it has health, verve, and a twist of fresh zest. It takes the boy to say: “Congratulations! Welcome to the apocalypse!” for Bell to realize he hadn’t yet said a thing! There were so many words unsaid, his face spelling it all out, stringing unuttered letters. “Welcome to The City: Fall Apart Park.” Then, again, some little gem flashes inside the smile. It finds an anchorage next to his eye, and grows, slowly. He looks upon them, these people, these tourists touring their own lives, he is looking at them with a... with a... Bell can’t quite put her finger on it... She glances at Lake, her tapered eyes, her focus says that she’s trying to translate, to decode the look, too. She leans out at an angle to see Bur; ze seems to be smiling; wily, she thinks, and contagiously smiles herself. The boy on the tree, eldered by a fuddle of unknowables, is ringing the last drops of everyone’s attention. The drama is choking. Someone wheezes, another nerves.
40

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“I’m Atom. It’s my opportunity to receive you. To introduce you; on this very day... The Great Inauguration! What luck and smarts you all must have! You won’t regret coming. That’s for sure.” He glances over his shoulder at The City. “Opened to the public, for the very first time. This is it,” he points, “you are it. The very first. And throughout the day, thousands will arrive.” He looks at his hands for a moment... then back at the crowd, wideeyeing them. “How could we be the first,” that same large woman says, “if there are so many busses out there?” her arm flaps incredulously. “There’s such a... mystique, no?” Atom says, obviously dismissing the woman. She gasps as if slapped. “Yes, there is such a mystique about this place. What in the world have we been doing here? For years and years these doors have been shut, we’ve been so busy, and you’ve heard so much about it: the collapse –or transformation, if you prefer– of modern-industrial society as we know it. Indeed, just what is going on here?” Still looking at the crowd, his arm sweeps the environment, stringing the heads along a long line. “You’ll see.” This time his smile appears genuine; it gives Bell a shiver, as well as the strangest longing for dark chocolate, deep, nearly in her loins. “The original idea for Fall Apart Park came from Camilo José Vergara 64. The photographer and urban sociologist controversially proposed that a ‘skyscraper ruins park’ be built in downtown Detroit. Yes, compelling for sure. To identify our current surroundings as ruinous... Not surprisingly, the idea nettled a lot of capitalists and those focused on ‘rebuilding’ and ‘progress’,” Atom says the last words like speaking to a child: slowly, syrupy, embellishing them with deeply-dipped finger-quotes. “These people, always hell-bent on ‘growth’... here, in this city-park, we have remarkably different definitions for these words. Anyway, in his book American Ruins65 , Vergara suggested that –you’re going to want to write this one down– ‘as a tonic for our imagination, as a call for renewal, as a place within our national memory, a dozen
41

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

city blocks or pre-Depression skyscrapers be stabilized and left standing as ruins: an american acropolis.’ “Continuing this line of thought in a later article for Metropolis, Vergara wrote: ‘We could transform the nearly 100 troubled buildings into a Grand National Historic park of Play and Wonder, an urban monument valley... midwestern prairie would be allowed to invade from the north. Trees, vines, and wildflowers would grow on roofs and out of windows; goats and wild animals –squirrels, possum, bats, owls, ravens, snakes and insects– would live in the empty behemoths, adding their calls, hoots and screeches to the smell of rotten leaves and animal droppings.’ “We got wind of it from THE BLDG BLOG66, and realized what to do with our inheritance.” “Inheritance...?” a number mutter. “Yeah. Inheritance,” he explains. For a time –long enough to seem like forever and long enough to know it was actually just a handful of compact seconds– Atom gazes to the City, while the visitors just stand waiting, incapable of beholding the city from this distance, without the boy’s height-advantage. But, Lake notices, that doesn’t stop a good number of them from instinctively trying, toeing up, craning heads, eyeing the invisible, the waiting city. He stands up, and missiles off the wondrous tree! Propulsed across the entry-way, and the flock gathered there, to a platform built in the trees, something that Lake and Bell both failed to notice, they notice now, in stun. Atom shimmies along the ladder. His hand beckonvites those who haven’t already followed Bur up the steps. Once all there, each having found their place upon the wooded balcony, Atom tells them that: “No nails were used in the construction of this balcony.” On the words, a wave of fidgetous tics breaks on the crowd, but the platform stoics through. “Don’t things need nails?” one of them says carefully, and some woman slops a sobby sop.
42

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“It was built without nails by a group of Belgians. One time I helped them to build a village in the Prince’s forest. It was The Beech Tree Festival67 ... unbelievably awesome. Good ol’ Geo Godeau...” Atom –then everyone else, too– faces the looming City once more. So far so close; his arm glides along it, just like stroking the leopard, the distant mess of concretenous mass... Heads, slowly, wobbling, these wild, widths; as shock gives way to focus, the City unfurls... greenly. Greens, greens... a brown, a grey, and –“good damn,” someone mutters– more greens. They are overlaying the scattered greys, the remnanted greys, veneering; no: finishing the greys of the buildings, the concrete, the dulldrab, lackluster history of urbanity. An era deteriorating in a foamy, sea-green sea, awashed in green. “The greenery: it is the City’s new skin; a juicing, mold-caked peach...” Bell grins: the cityscape swirls as a stirred screwdriver, hydrous, a neon, coral world glinting and flexing sunlight off its greens. Lake jars: an image of a gang of pollen-coated and seedy ghosts dancing and raving flashes in her mind; all so fancily and uglily. Atom brings them back: “This City –this place– it is verdant. Exclamatorily. The city is awash, aflood in green. The City’s cape is a greenscape, athrive with life: thick leaf aripple, beating and breathing. The cityscape is a mad-artist’s palette slung upon canvas: a canvas arave in lawless greens, thrilling greens, dreamy greens: a palette of innumerable greens.” Everyone sees it: bolting from windows, long tendrils freely creep and creepers splay unabated; strutting to and diving from overhangs; dominating balustrades, painting arches, keystone and all... mopping rooftops; coating chimneys leaf-green, terraces sweet-green. The variety of greens is of a yorely forest.
43

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“But oh: the many voices, the many colors of this City... this City of our future...” They look, and see so many browns and greys sharding and slivering the greenery. Looking closer still, some reds, some oranges, yellows, too; painted buildings, flags, tiles maybe, windbreakers of those wandering... “For all the greens – the grey; that which was the City, is a skeleton now. That old City brittlely bides; eking out its existence, taut to remember, straining to remain itself –cobble to cliff, rafter to rooftop– aruminating. The skeleton is all but assimilated; all but consumed; asphalt all but peeks between the viney shutters which shut the grey in like prison bars.” “Massive trees and scrapers, in solidarity. The Park and The City are one, integreated creature.” A habitat, a forest, a playground, a laboratory, a: "Alive. This City, it’s alive. Its verdurous pulse beats upon its sleeve.” A trove, an environment, a masterpiece, a: “Its every inhalation, and every exhalation, a ripple sent through its tremendous streets.” Now they’re stampering in place; that line really moved the crowd. Maybe because they like this voice of this face of Atom’s. Maybe because it was just a good line. Maybe because they are beginning to understand where they are. He speculates; at the same time, he rears at the crowd: fanging like a witfull fox [relishing their recoil!], up on the tips of his hind paws, his claws out, dervishing, “The City is a primal forest!” A snort of horror, the boy is screaming! Spit and slobber whip and string! All stare stupefied, standing floored. And he calms. Shluffing the show off his brows. Like a button... the crowd laxes. Their tautness, made exaggeratingly visible by diminishing, disappears. Bell tosses her backpack from one shoulder to the other. The little boy from the bus joggles his teeth, hands, feet, and butt; riddled in edges, yet quiet as a dead dog. He rifles a shit-eating grin at them. As one, they step back, some even flinch. Grinning like a nasty dastard, Atom bores into them.
44

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

nine
Okay. “Okay. Lastly, while we are up here and we have this view–” the crowd settles in, shedding their rigidity. Softening... mentally and physically shifting from that tollfull oration, to one of geography and facts. “–see that street? The big one: straight as a beeline 68, er, that’s awfully muddy... See that street, straight as a... an arrow? That’s Fundamental Boulevard. There’s a tea-shop, a couple of cafés, a gallery, a museum... things like that.” He stops, letting them chew their bearings. “Fundamental Blvd –as you’ll see– is a parody of structural decay. Its buildings and passageways and door frames, are all dying, all degrading, dying before your eyes; but paused there. If we let them go, they would fall on you, probably kill you. So we have stilled them to stay. Fundamental Blvd then is in a kind of suspended animation. Mind you, however, that many of the decaying alleyways off Fundamental Blvd have not been interrupted. They are signed and posted; I will say this once: stay where you ought.” He sees two girls brim. He sees them stifle the reaction. He smiles. “Fundamental Blvd ends at The Patch,” he says, pointing into the awescape. “This area of the park is dedicated to social and environmental collapse, acting as a kind of fairgrounds – with rides, shows, games, and street performance,” for reasons neither Bell nor Lake can guess, Atom winks as he says this. “The Patch is a network epicentering information with photo-essays, exhibits, displays, and so on; detailing a compendium of the manslaughter/breaking of the planet Earth. This space –the collection of scattered venues– chronicles the global collapse and is called The Buckle; all the numbers, all the statistics, all the pieces, from all over the world, as up-to-date as humanly possible. As this knowledge sheds light on many of The Park’s finer points, it can/
45

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

should enhance your experience here; releasing you back into the world a bit different.” He breathes deeply, looking back to the group, smiling harmlessly again. Cooingly. “Okay? Okay. And: in the middle of The Patch is” –his hand flops at the obviousness of– “the enormous skyscraper: The Lith. It is as big as it looks.” It outvasts the cloud-cover, rejecting the horizon, scoffing any restriction. He haunches, bringing his knees up, and resting his chin there, he says “the Lith is wild. Wow. Really. A monument for sure. The whole structure; each floor is unique. You can take a tour of it. And the rooftop: The Crown. From there, the whole city spreads. And, there is a ‘singing, ringing tree 69’, some tensegrity70 installations and some kinetic sculptures71 roving around.” He straightens himself back up. “One last thing,” he says as he slowly descends the composition. “Beyond The Lith is The Mountain. You are forbidden to go there. By principle; it can only function if no one goes there. It is bona fide wild. Whereas Fall Apart Park is a managed and controlled experiment, The Mountain is not. It is a different kind of experiment; intended to allow observation of the processes of nature.” He stops half-way down his descent. “Many claim it an impossibility; to not mettle in nature, to truly, 100%, leave it alone. And, that’s probably true... At this point, we seem to have invaded, intoxicated, wriggled into, and infested nearly every square inch of the planet; smearing... Anyway; we ought to try.” Standing before the visitors on the ground now, and square in front of Bell, Atom continues: “Modern architecture is the child of bourgeois society: it is rigid, authoritarian and oppressive. The whole thing is sad – sad and tragic. But: the discussions and considerations of user participation, do-it-yourself-ing, adaptive architecture, advocacy planning, energy-conscious building, and the biopsychosocial context are gaining intensities. Fall Apart Park is investigating an architecture which is active, exploratory, exponential, self-organizing, and emergent.” Throughout his breakdown, Atom looks from eye, into eye. Boring into each in turn.
46

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Nearly all look away. But not that curly blondie, and not her friend. Nor Bur, whom he pats a winks at. “Can we, go now?” It’s the little kid from the bus. Atom fakes a yawn. “I mean, it’s interesting, I guess. But I came here to have fun.” His bearishly big dad gives a soft, but large elbow to the kid’s shoulder. “No offense,” he adds. Atom picks at his teeth with his tongue, loudly. He takes a big breath, and lets a little laugh. “Yeah, we can go now.” Atom whirls himself to face The Park! Swinging his arms in exaggerative performance. “We can walk to The City!” “Walk?!” It’s the kid’s pill-feeding mom, and she says it quietly, probably too quietly for Atom to hear. “Damnit. First we have to ride in a vomitorium, then we get lectured, now we have to walk?” Her voice sounds like the stirrings of soup, gloppy and wet. Her chins flip and flop. Lake’s mouth opens in a weird kind of empathy. “Yeah. I just wanna explore,” says another kid – who could be another of her kids. “What do you want? To drive into the City? Think we should just pull-up in cars?” He waits for the large mom to answer. “Well, no.” She pulls the corner of his mouth. “I guess that wouldn’t really work...” “No. There. Of course not. Probably, the farther away from cars, the better. No?” He says this, looking at Lake. “Yes,” she says. “So we gotta walk.” “I bet he’s gonna talk the whole time. Curses,” the mother says into the father’s ear. She grabs the paw of the big man, and softly pats the heads of her offspring. “Don’t worry; we brought snacks.” Lake’s voice raises: “Atom? How long until we get there?” “Not long,” he doesn’t answer. “Though, depending on who you ask, we’re already there.” He begins to walk, and so do they.
47

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

The crowd lines-up, segments of a long, stupefacting insect, a cockamamied cockeyed caterpillar, and they’re off.

ten
Curving a bend... the crowderpillar comes upon a mountain of thick sticks. Nearing, they see the pillars, columns, totem-poles, props, and other support pieces in a heap; barely able to maintain the soft mound they now find themselves making. Nearing close, Lake spots the bold script of a spiral column; the words destined deep into its wood, as sharp-knifed cuts are:
This is not some slow, controlled change we re talking about. It s fast, it s unpredictable, and it s unprecedented; 23 of 73

Bur scribbles the words into the passport, lip-syncing it like a pop song. Upon the pillar’s top –wading in gallimaufry– is a wilted figure of a man; looking to be chiseled from soggy wood, or maybe a giant fruit, shriveled pruney and saggy, or maybe a firedtire. Only two pockmarks for eyes, sagging, like wax, sunk-in... and no nose... and one arm broken at the elbow. The other outstretched; for something, apparently, though nothing’s there. How many storms have born upon it: this wild animal, so mired, so exploited? So brutalized, so un-arguably buried in it. The crowd shuffles; its many feet scrape the dry dirt into clouds; it’s puffing about their fidgetry. At the front of the crowderpillar, is Atom’s mouth. As he walks it erupts – making certain to reach the last in the long line of ears. He’s throwing his arms wildly: “With each spat of bird shit on each front-desk, each weed arose in each street... with each broken window... with every resident deer, fox, varmint... busted
48

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

water-pipe, sun-bleached alleyway... each threatening seed aloft... an insurgent parachuting...” Nobody blinks. All the jaws stay dropped. But that same big woman is making noise again: “I knew it... Nobody said we’d have a poetaster for an escort.” “Ah, he’s not half-bad,” Bur says. The kid makes a face. Speaking with his hands; conveying nearly as much emotion as his words: “To see you battle-bathed in green-blood! Your exterior arrested, lost... seized; colonized even! Your own devilish tables are turned! Where are your spick n’span, polished offices now? Your flawless heights? Now where are your civilized trimmings? Tarnished, sullied, dishonored. All those choice cutlets? Your sanitized-to-death Utopia. That fantasy of sterility: sparkly, shiny, and pure. That dominion... the game, the glitterati. That bubble of pamper. That reckless privilege: spoiled! Where indeed...!” Lake’s eyes and mouth widen. She flashbacks to her brother always crying about his boring job as he returns home/just before falling asleep; and to her sister always nervous about debt; and to her aunt, always showering her with sketchy giftcards; and of the disgusting food we feed our pets. “Packaging,” she profanes, surrendering her hands to the air. “Hell: bullshit, plastic, throwaway straws! Paper napkins! Fuck!” she screams; the line jumps. That mother-hen looks pissed. She huffs-up, and stalks to Lake’s face. “I won’t be having my kids hearing dirty words like that again! Hear me? Missy?” she says, all antsy as a ruffed-up pile. The kids whine weak moans –of course, so used dirty words– she shushes them. “Paper napkins!” Lake roars. “Paper napkins, straws, AND plastic bags! I’ll say all the dirty words I want,” Lake promises, stepping past the mother-hen, who’s left blurting some triteness after her. As if he didn’t hear a word, Atom carries on: “A tink and the tank cracks, the world’s smothered rivers daylight.”
49

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

The crowderpillar puffs and huffs decorations and punctuations for Atom’s words, like a squeaky chassis, like a row of warped panels. Bell looks at Lake, and Lake laughs. “I know,” she says. “What a crazy ass, right?” Bell laughs. “Yeah,” she says. Reaching out for a hold to step atop a pile of debris, Atom says: “Over and over again we see movement and connection; we get sanity only in dynamism. Oil and water, which causes more edge-area. Resist the equilibrium since this constitutes death,” Atom stops to a standstill, and his arms drop to his sides. “The tricks of today are the truths of tomorrow,” he says. And just then a chill breeze breathes, tossing around some papers. One’s a tabloid, Bell finds it pinioned about her shin... she reads the words within her mind:
What we build creates possibilities for, and limits on the way we live; 67 of 73

Bur sees it and beams; rushing in and snagging it off Bell’s leg before it launches on another tumbley flight. Bur unslings zhys rucksack, and removes a folder. Carefully, zhe places the advert inside, among –Bell sees– many, many more; all quotes, or statistics, or musings. “Wow,” she says. “You have a lot already.” Bur counts to the finger-flipped pages: “5 - 7 - 11 - 15 - 19 21 - 25 - 31. It’s super cool; the more I find and read, the more I understand the meaning. I can’t wait to find all seventy-three! Maybe there is a secret code! Or maybe all of them –when put together– make one big message!” “Think there are more than seventy-three? If I made them, I would make a few secret ones... And some extra, extra secret ones!” “I would, too...”

50

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

eleven
The pathway widens and flattens... Atom looks over his shoulder, at the mutation following him. Tossing his arm out, at a signpost which reads: Bonescape. “Careful,” he says, and the way he says it sounds more like laughing-talking, than talking-talking. Then so rupturous on the sudden –ooooh’s and ahhhh’s pop up and down the line of visitors like a spinal column– every person sees the the concrete cacophony; what was the flat streetpath is now... not. Now... the slivering – road – is pitching – in huge blocks of – asphalt every-witch-way... a concrete cataract. Bell’s imagination runs wild: “It’s a road-made-mountainrange. A giant’s Jenga stack, knocked, to a frozen flood of grey chunks.” “The street shattered is a dusty and chalk-dry knifement,” Lake mumbles. “Like the tools of aliens; spilled, and still piling...” Bur bristles, “Like a heap of napped flakes, knapping in massive beds...” The visitors halt, suspended in their own personal thoughtful heads; braving their synaptic thunderstorming or just paddling in twaddles... Whatever their thoughts, they stand silent; just staring at the thing that always seemed to heavy, so strong, so permanent; the thing that epitomized modern movement, spatial freedom, and progress; the broken thing. They stand there, skeletons steeping in the monolithic messterpiece... “Are we... really going to walk... over that?” the mother-hen balks. Atom erupts, buckling in thrashfull laughter. The whiteboard-blank(et)ness of their faces spurs Atom into another round: a balloon bursting and cackles come out. He struggles to gain his breath back, and just barely succeeds. “This is what happens!” he says, pointing an arm, jacking his head at every road’s future. “Everything we make... the buildings, the storm-water drains, the electricity poles... nails, tires, clothes...
51

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Everything needs constant attention, diligent updates... loads and loads of primping and coaxing... Energy-inputs galore. They need such a slaving, devotional maintenance. Listen,” he says seriously, but still laughing terrifically, “our system needs dedicated idolization. Neglected, for just a moment, they are all falling-apart.” Surprisingly, the laughter from Atom’s face scatters like winded smoke; the newly revealed chin, stubbled, he strokes: “It’s true. It’s much more like it is falling apart, all the time; as if our built environment is terminally ill, on life-support. And we are scrambling and clambering to keep it beating.” “I read in The World Without Us72...” –every face flicks to the direction of the words, to the weird looking kid named Bur– “...that without people or power to operate New York’s water pumping facilities, within 36-hours the city’s subways would fill with water. Soon afterwards the steel support beams would collapse and the tunnels would cave-in.” “You see; 36-hours.” All the heads flip back to Atom. “36hours; New York city,” Atom says it, turning from the wraithing faces, chesting back up to The Bonescape... Its grey daggers fanging the Park’s distant, soft, green tongues... That already keely skyline canting preposterously behind the seirran asphalt... In a sticky daze, they follow Atom through this unavoidable future, however so, even so, otherworldly; like steps fuddled in the snow, those directly behind Atom try their best to match his prints, his exactings – and so on, down the line; a dribbly game of telephone... fading with each’s sketch... finding those in the back fishing for the best of each remnant-step. They grip the bronzed railing: there, where the bronze beams. They bypass a tusk of cement, belonging more to a museum, than today’s here; they round a moonward shard; they look in, into its palled guts – piping, thick cable, layer and layer and layer of techno-roots. A dreamy forty-five degree brick here; a titanic smooth, slabsheet there; an elderly chunk-on-chunk now. Hand-rails assist and expedite the visitors, walking round, between, and through... pro52

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

gressing cripplingly by, around, between, through the Park’s crumped introduction. Steps chisel the asphalt, azig a switchback, azag a roundabout... The underside of one particular shard grabs each visitor – either because each person in the advancing queue sees the next look within, or because it commands scrutiny; in the giant flake of roadshadow, alcoved, rooms a fire-pit; along the sooted floor, scattered hand-written papers... detailing... annotating... something, but the dark keeps it secret... A bolded title catches legibility: Survival Strategies. Another’s header reads: Worst-Case-Scenario. And written thick, huge: Iconoclastic Tactics. Designs, formations, figures, and jargon scrawl the walls. Graffiti swirls:
Architecture is always a way of speculating about what might be here in the future -and it s not inaccurate to say, then, that architecture is its own peculiar form of science fiction: architecture is always a way of envisioning our world transformed into something else; 22 of 73

It’s difficult to see it all, the line moves too quickly; follow the leader. The road’s gone ludicrous; broken but embarkable. Indeed, mustable. A novel confab, our latest contention. Just a few more obscenic curlicues, then: the route curves a final and opens up and... the eyes can go to only one spot; each is forced to a billboard, like a magnet, or a television:
Isn t this what they ve been doing all along?!?; 31 of 73

“Ha!” Bell hoots. “Good one.” “Right. We didn’t have any choice... the message was put in a spot where we will look; actually, where we have to look,” Lake says into Bells shoulders. Reminds me of that film, Czech Dream73.”

53

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Yup. The design of the environment –the very structures surrounding us– is often managed... governed to control us,” Atom says. Bell huffs through breaths, climbing this place, seeming dreadfully like an afterworld, dreadfully like today’s world, unboxed. “Nobody ever asks permission. It’s like it’s their right to advertise. And our duty to consent. Incontestable and indisputable. Certainly: we have no say in what we are subjected to.” “Just cog-caught consumers...” A banner waves above the path; in high-quality graffiti it says: ‘SPECIES v. NAMEBRANDS’. They both read it, shake their heads; two heads on the caterpillar-tail, quivering a flutter and continuing on. And then, all at once, the road gravels. Its grit and rock even out. And see the City ahead? The visitors breathe and calm, widen and flank. Slow and saunter. Finally, waiting for it, drooling for it, manifesting their destiny for it, unable to wait any longer for it, Atom and his posse set foot-upon-foot-upon-foot, segmenting their shared leggy length, one at a time, upon Fundamental Boulevard. A massive sign says so. “Naturally, Welcome,” Atom says.

54

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

twelve
“This is where I leave you.” Nobody gives any verbs to their shuffling –the angst and excitement and/or the nervey discomfort– at being dislodged from their host, their leader. Only some more small cloudings of dust... and grumps of postures straightening to take more load, of spinal reinforcements. “Finally!” the big dad says. Atom looks around a big belly, a man’s orange shirt rounded out, to see the bearish man. He smiles fluorescently. “Ready to go, eh?!” His blonde, but browning eyebrows italicize his blue-bolded eyes. “Yeah,” he says, chewing the single-syllable alongside the cigar, which dangles from his mouth. “Yeah, it’s amazing! I can hardly believe so many people walk so long to get here...” one of his kids says. “Well, what do you think? The end of the world is on your doorstep?” Atom cocks his chin at The City like a sawed-off. “Yuh, I’ve heard anuff... not that I didn’t enjoy your oration... But I’m just dying to see this place,” the mother-hen says, scratching her ass. “Well, dying or not...” says Atom, casting a final smile, shoving his hands into his torn shorts, turning on his black tennies, a blonde shock falling from his ponytail; and he disappears. As does most of the group, maybe trying to keep up with their head, maybe trying to get to somewhere of special interest in the Park, maybe ready for knowledge, or awareness, or something... Bur has gone, too. But Bell and Lake wait just a second more, fetching a jar of water out of Bell’s rucksack... having unlidded it, tipping it back... they look down Fundamental Boulevard...
55

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

t hirtee n
Lake [inhaling –on the water, the air, the sight– too deeply] suffocates. Fundamental Boulevard: caterwauling like a catwalk drunked, yawning like a stretching runway. A revolution in determined, accountable action. An unfolding in their faces, all the way down the boulevard. All the way to The Lith, standing like a sci-fi God. Bell says –“...”– nothing. Her words are all backed-up, her mouth is useless. Her face cloud-colored, sleetfull and snowy; eyes golfbally-hail. Lining its either side: structures unerecting themselves, constructions softening, arrangements disorganizing, shapes undefining, the city dismantling – Lake hears Bell gasp; shanting shacks, hovels leaning-to, wholes filling holes, everything asundering, everything just like Atom said. Bell points [mouth still open] Lake looks [still coughing]: the streetlights wink a weak heartbeat, sporadic enough to surprise you, to catch you off-guard; Lake suddenly remembers that its her sister’s birthday... “Shit,” like a bubble popping in wet monosyllabicality. Bell points [mouth still open] Lake looks [still coughing]: the lampposts pin down the lane, and droop in their rust, kunked at sharp angles, crumpled like rear-ended ballerinas... but their lights are purple, silver, orange, dark blue and light blue, like a strungout string of ancient christmas lights... In the pre-noon milklight, their effect is cream and ghosts. Bell points [mouth still open] Lake looks [still coughing]: the road ragged, marbled with oil and gas and spit and antifreeze, run rawed by cars, then clawed by weeds, eaten by wind, chocking on dust. There aren’t anymore cars; just fluid stains, like grimed, grum’d resin...
56

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

All around them... as grasses and weeds rend every nook and cranny, as green strips sprig here and here, advancing their territory over the dictator; little battle by little battle, by blade and sprout, day by day by everyday; the little delicacies keep at it, hammering softly away. As three-deer, dressed in velvet, amble to a grass-patch –near a stripped, gutted, tarnishing Benz– and as their thick, powerful necks dip and their thin, incredible lips curl back; as their square teeth tear the green tips... sounds word. But it’s impossible to follow any one logical line of speech; they step over each other, reach under, into and around each other; scrambled, blended, confused. Maybe the wind... or maybe complexed solely by being spoken in this place, this city – maybe it is this context alone, which is muddling them. A couple louder, more interesting words tip Bell and Lake curious; they try to listen. The girls both swoon in fainty pales, eyes squeezed and squished, holding down light(e)ning heads: “...beneath us this ancient dead dream fact of us low they smell hardly unshakable honest transformation just be dreck low plaster glass metal masonry this chaff wood and thick debris and brickwork thicket re-appropriation under the growth of the cauldron of the trees their yogic limbs civilization under humanity lay ancient undertone the of us our wipe can just be all toils and sweats piled thick back and heart antiquated breaks into winced oh our way away scrape their there the-re-Earth-is-this-whoa...” “Whoa,” says Bell, buoying-up from the avalanche of voices. “I feel battered. And deep-fried,” Lake says. “And, I feel better.” She looks at Bell, her pupils dilating.

57

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

f ourte e n
Someone is squealing lunatically: “The buildings! Oh my God! The buildings!” Standing there, staring down the boulevard, prompted by the squeals, the girls take stock: “Look at those!” Someone is screaming, pointing an arm towards –some structures that slant and sigh shoulder-to-shoulder, propped and pillared by other structures, leaning on trees big enough to support their weight, from sagging to sunk; a support network, a dimensional infrastructural maze; easing each other’s downfall, poising, a bazillion structures alilting, paused in mid-go– pixie sticks. “Looks like a still-frame of a spinning dancer; poisefull,” Lake imagines outloud, interpreting the peculiar anatomy of the fading buildings. “Or like a photo of a person, thrown from a bridge; the body flailing to orient down, down, all down,” says Bell making a different rendition of the building’s musculature, of its physique. “Ha!” rips Lake. “Buildings as acrobats, attuning in mid-air.” “Look at that one!” Someone is shrieking, pointing an arm towards... haven fallen into the trees, the buildings stay caught at sharp and wild angles, and slowly become trees, transforming themselves nail by truss, sheetrock raucousing, floorboards totally unflooring, just more habitat for verdure; so many varieties of plants making it home... dandelion tap-roots picket with their pick-axes... nettles horsetail, raspberries mushroom, berries and berries and boomers... ferns and grasses and mosses, ferning, grassing, and mossing...

58

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

A roomy smell clouds about; the smell of terrifically old books, like rich, ancient quality dirt, hangs and myrks; the maple leaves lawn. ...a nursery-building. Limping: “Look at... that... one?” Someone is limping words, dangling a hand towards... something – what exactly, neither Bell nor Lake could say what is which, or which was what anymore... Because not all the buildings lay in some stunning, artsy complex of equipoise. Many fallen buildings, released to gravity, pile like trash. They lay sprawled, smithereened and pieced upon the ground. The manmade materials the most stubborn to die. They rest, brutal and stark. Late and obsolete. Nameless, communicating only in the dehydrated language of mass and matter. It may have been a toolshed or a bus stop... a BurgerMaster or a laundromat; or just as well, it could have been a pile of barbecues, of kitchen tiles, of bed sheets... ...things. “Is it a child’s crib or a hell-of-an-ant-hill?” asks Bell, pointing at what might be a pile of tombstones. Lake snouts a snortfull: “It’s a collapsed closet of boardgames and puzzles.” Their eyes eat the dead buildings like candy; like good candy – like grandma-made candy.

59

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

fiftee n
The girls’ eyes walk the Boulevard back to their noses – everything collapsing in segments like a piradical monocular. Their eyes land on an especially strange facade. “Wow...” Lake’s nose scrunches, her top-teeth show. “All the windows. That building is... crazy,” Bell says slowly, lowly. “So many... they’re... projections?” Lake chops squints with blinks. Shockingly –amidst all the debris and wreckage– every single window on this building is intact; and being mostly windows, the effect is dazzling. In one, Bell spots a forest; in another, a long, heavy table lined with business men; and in another, two buildings74; and in another, what looks like a revolution75... every window an image... their perspectives montaging a mosaic. Staring into one, Lake sees the image in it –clouds dust deviling– shine with an uncanny clarity. “Must be projections; I don’t know what else they could be...” In another window’s reflection, kites snip and razor tightly, like paper’d parrots. The building’s eyes Iris the foresting city. “We should try to get into that building; have a look,” Bell says, “what a piece of art...” “Whole hearted– what the shit?!” Lake flops, ducking for cove. “See that?” she screams, staring above them. “The sky just... darken?” “Thought I saw something; like it dropped a shade.” Bell rounds her mouth into a curio. “Blipped, like with a switch.” Puzz’d, Lake slaps a hand to her forehead, tousling some blond curls, then stroking them in the manner of a beard: “Pretty... unnatural. As if the sky were a screen, turntabled or maintained. Or played.” Could the sky be a giant screen... Lake
60

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

wonders the length The Park might go to... Their heads left shaking in what-in-the-world. Due whatever to, the city’s complexion is nearing a kind of purpley-grey, a kind of purpley-pearl. And the lampposts are now christmaslighting all the brighter; wreathing the street, grinning like a jewelly necklace, beading Fundamental Blvd aflicker in a rhythmic pulsing. They see the first active –and publicly accessible– building on Fundamental Boulevard... a thick layer of poofy humus – pushed up against the building like a retaining-wall– piles high enough to half-bury the entire building; like an earthen wave eating the building, millimetering the capsizing of its captive, carpeting it in a soddy germ(i)nation. “Ha, an earthship76!” blurbs some voice from behind them. The... earthship... has two, very tall –easily twice as tall as the girls– and wide –wider than they are tall– windows on its face. “Those windows are huge,” rubles Bell. “And dark,” Lake adds. “They look steeply tinted?” Their frames are ornate, adorning deep whimsy– “Calligraphical curlicues,” Lake says, wide-eying them. “Carnival-alla-Victorian,” says Bell. –echoable of the clouds their windows often reflect. Bell and Lake peel their feet from the street; they had been standing there, in that one spot, since they first fronted Fundamental Boulevard, all surplussed in sights. They walk until they stand in a window each, standing before their own image, staring at themselves; their reflection... is in abstract... “I look like a comic book character,” Lake says, trancedly. “I look like... like an ancient portrait... supposing some kind of... some kind of something,” Bell rivets. “It’s this backdrop: the city/the forest/the city; this mixed-medium, I feel weird.” They stand, and stare, at themselves.
61

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

And that’s when the sky snapped. It really did sound like it just, cracked... But softer, more smooth, stifled even. Without a second thought both girls dashed for cover, towards whatever object their dash could dash them under cover of: a bush for Bell; an overturned grocery cart-full-of-jackets for Lake. By the time they look up again and– Lake reaches under her poked-ass and pulls three figures... some kind of buildings, fashioned as trinkets for tourists... she manages to look up, and– Bell wouldn’t believe her eyes if they weren’t hers. Under a blueberry bush, she picks a couple proper-ripe berries, unable to not giggle about berries, then looks up, and– and it rips a sound like frozen glass. They smash towards the ground... panting. They lay, panting, and panting, and then, panting. They pant, and then peak out from cover. Nothing. Not a thing. They crawl up. They brush themselves. They collect. “I haven’t looked in a mirror in such a long, long time...” Lake says it softly, whispery; kind of to herself, kind of to herself: did any of her self hear that? Slowly thawing-out, tugging at her knees, livening them to return and do something. Then, Bell says: “I feel like we’ve been standing at a painting, staring. Not just now; the whole time. Like this entire City is some kind of cinema or something. Must have been gawking here for... God, I don’t have any idea how long; hardly moving a muscle...” She looks at Lake... then starts giggling. “You look electric – galvanized.” “I feel like I just licked a battery...” Lake shakes-out her mouth, and combs the electricity from her hair with her fingers. “That’s funny,” she smiles, “I know what you mean. I feel like I just had mine recharged, too.” “I haven’t looked in a mirror in forever...” Lake says with glossy-eyes of glazeous-glass. Not blinking. “Yeah...” Bell adds, twisting her back, wringing cracks and pops out of her spine like bubblewrap. “Yeah...” she repeats, “I haven’t looked in a mirror in awhile either.”
62

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Lake glances at her. Walking towards her now. “No: really,” she says, sounding serious, committed. “It’s been months and months... Around three years.” Standing next to each other, talking to each other, staring at this building, this earthship... they now see, huge and obvious –“Funny we could miss this sign; there’s just so much to see,” Lake says– the words engraved into a hefty cross-section of rawwood, declaring: The Compote. It’s strung up to a rafter on two columns, standing in a patch of wilded lawn, with a length of thick chain; solid, bulky, too heavy to move in the wind. “Redwood?” supposes Lake. “Could be,” Bell says. Then, “that is,” pointing to a redwood burl. “Cute! It’s a mock-mailbox.” Sitting on the spiral post like a sleeping hedgehog, in a little bath of water –its green tips the size of fingers– stretching towards the sun, an adorable red wood burl... The girls look between them and The Compote, at the entrance. The stepping stones and the compact, dense ground-cover that grows between –the pink flowered purslane, the yellow flowered pinto peanut, the blue and white flowered moss– rolls out as a floral carpet. They see the doors, they see the doors that look more like a hallway than doors, they see the corridooring doors, somehow actually looking like a tunnel. Squinting into the doors, they see a black shape shapen, they see it wraith and grow, take on the appearance of a human’s body, become a human’s body; still cloaked in dark, they see it step out into the light. Holding something. What is that?

63

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

sixtee n
A Fall Apart Park souvenir. A blue and purple plush, soft like a teddy-bear, like a pillow, but shaped and crafted like one of The City’s falling buildings; cradled in hands... then the arms, the chest, the face of the boy, wide-eyed and beaming, ogling at the plush. “Ahh-hoah!” he bellows. In his other hand –looking practically like he is seeing it for the first time, like unwrapping a present, only it’s already unwrapped– is a little plastic bottle. “HA! A medicine bottle!” As he walks by, Lake can see the words ‘medicine bottle’ written on it, fatly like a wide-tipped marker, in a clever helvetica 77. Another child emerges, carrying another plushed building, but orange and grey, toppled, laying in a pile of pink and black grass. And a rectangular box. Looks like cardboard, jointed together. “Sliced ham?!” Bell can’t tell if he is ecstatic or stupored... And another kid: carrying a plush of two-buildings, leaning upon each other, in the shape of an A, colored in shades of green, with windows of black. And, also, an aluminum can. “All it says is... Sugar...” Ecstatic and stupored Bell decides. Each child has the look of shock and excitement... such surprise... like they are seeing their souvenirs for the very first time... Bell and Lake exchange looks. Then their adulted counterpart exits the compote. He is holding a bandana; ‘Fall Apart Park’ is written in old-gothic lettering, with cogs and gears and pulleys, and a crow. And then: something else. He’s holding it very close to his face; to get a really good look. “Wow! Beautiful!” he shouts. “Wow!” Stepping across the steppingstones, walking past the girls, he says, “a compass! See!” Granting them a look at the piece: swirly-colored, like oil; blue, black, silver, and gold. Looking closer, Bell notices the swirls
64

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

are miniatured writing. Reaching the three youngsters, they are all showing each other their souvenirs. The door closes again. Quiet again... “Well?” prompts Bell. And at that, they both step along the stepping stones to the doorfull corridor. In tentativity, the girls test the door like tiptoes to a gangplank. And, they step through the door, somehow; some kind of miraculous, but probably simple, funhouse trick; yet not any less miraculous in its simplicity. They see another door. They walk into it; to another door. Through this one, in near-pitching black-dark, another door! But able to touch this one: “Soft. Like velvet,” Lake tells Bell. And, inside. “It’s... It’s black and white?!” Lake staggers. “You’re right!” Bell whirls her head across the room. Everything... the plush teddies: of buildings, of limousine skeletons, of hot air balloons; the rows and rows of shapes –boxes, cans, and bottles– sitting on the shelves... everything black and white and grey. “Wow. This is... It’s like an old black and white movie! A million shades of grey...” Lake says, feeling oddly old. “What a strange idea: being in here makes me feel like we’re in an old movie, too; but that’s wrong. As if the actors were in sets of grey; they weren’t, those movies were in color. They were only captured and converted into black and white. I feel an odd sense of self-centeredness, a misguided nostalgia.” The girls peruse, flicking through the aisles. They chance upon a little girl, an awesome little girl78 . “Some girls like superheroes, some girls like princesses! Some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses! So why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different color stuff ?” she asks plain, simply, and beautifully. “That’s a good question, Riley,” says the guy with her.
65

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“The companies that make them try to trick the girls into buying pink stuff instead of the stuff boys want to buy!” she continues, in pure directness. “Well, that sounds about right,” Bell says, “she gets it.” “Yeah, but this place is really starting to creep me out. The black and white is getting to me. It’s as if I’m only inside my perception, not inside what I’m perceiving; or something,” Bell says as she picks up one of the many, many blank shapes from the shelves. Twirling it in her hands, “I can’t read anything on it. This bizarre light, just seeing in black and white, only seeing in greys... It’s nearly blindness. It’s senseless.” “What a bizarre souvenir shop. We can’t even see what we could buy,” Bell says incredulously. “As if it matters...” says Lake.

s evente e n
Back across the stepping stones, back into the colored light... The colors! “Wow... the colors... so much sharper and... realer, after seeing only greys,” Lake says. Bell is looking around, stun-eyed. “I never knew how many shades each color has...” “Sad, really, how all these colors are just lumped into ‘green’... there are hundreds...” “When I get home, I’m going to really think about this.” Naturally, their eyes follow the boulevard, the tourist strip; but unnaturally, their eyes slink towards a curious little alley, which, despite its thick-barrage of ‘DO NOT ENTER’ signs, bears so many footprint-tracks... Without looking suspicious by looking for who might be looking at them –Bell always claims to
66

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

be so aware of her surroundings, that she’s always taking stock– they calculate their sneak, and the likelihood of making it unnoticed feels good. They move. Eyes at the back of their heads. Sensing. Walking slowly, yet clearly, with direction; they evaluate their approach. They alley’s left side is slightly sheltered by the shluffings of the building next to it, and with the bench that’s there, the route is obvious. Bell snaps the collar of her flannel, nabbing a last glance at the coast that’s clear. She swings around the street-sign, blinking out of sight. The alley looks just like the boulevard; crumbly, growing with greenery, undergoing great change, both dying and thriving. But, the alley is tiny. There are very few places to take cover, hardly any headspace, balconies loom, cracking and moaning, the sky is visible through holey roofs. “It’s hard enough just walking,” Lake says, realizing that she’s focusing far too much on securing her steps upon the alley’s crumblings, and that she’s giving too little attention to the dangers overhead. Stepping in them often, Bell breathes, “wonder where these tracks go.” The sounds of rubble crunching, of sand gritting, of soft plants sponging, and of wind weaseling into loose boards and flaps, tickling nails and screws, are smothered by the hollering and laughing of children. Bell stops, “!” Lake stops, “?” In tiptoes they creep to the intersection where a living-sign – letters of moss and lichens, framed in rooty and leafy air-plants– says in a voluptuously-mossed font: The Algal Blooms: A Garden of Godeau

67

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

After reading it, Bell’s caramel-colored head curves around the wavy corner, towards the noise... almost falling right off her shoulders, she’s jolt-struck, hearing a youthful, but boomy voice... “I usually don’t like to quote in such length; but Hundertwasser deserves big admiration. Yesterday, Godeau mentioned him; Hundertwasser was a real genius, and a visionary.” At first, it looks like a play, some kind of theatre performance. Upon a larger slab of concrete, a gang of kids are dancing and hollering, in-time with the speaker’s words, who’s pacing with a slow, yet deliberate determination across another slab, which is by far the longest of so many massive slabs. It’s wedged, so that its left corner comes high, high above the playground... “I’ll be reading from his ‘Mouldiness Manifesto Against Rationalism in Architecture79’.” The frenzied kids hardly seem to have heard; they’re just as juiced, easily making the most outlandish spectacle Bell has ever seen. Clearing her throat, and winging her arms around like a psychopath, the girl prepares. Her arms flop to her sides, and she begins to speak. “Painting and sculpture are now free, inasmuch as anyone may produce any sort of creation and subsequently display it. In architecture, however, this fundamental freedom, which must be regarded as a precondition for any art, does not exist, for a person must first have a diploma in order to build. Why?” The gang releases a great discharge, echoing the question. Now Lake’s head emerges underneath Bell’s –just two nuggets wrapped around the corner– and she sees the creations, and stifles whatever sound was about to come from her. Yes, now she sees that the concrete road has been dismantled and remantled into a bizarre and glorious playground, amassing more games and interactivities than she had ever imagined possible... the creativity buzzes, freely shifting the meanings and uses of so much simple, straight and blocky, basic concrete chunks. “Everyone should be able to build, and as long as this freedom to build does not exist, the present-day planned architecture
68

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

cannot be considered art at all. Our architecture has succumbed to the same censorship as has painting in the Soviet Union. All that has been achieved are detached and pitiable compromises by men of bad conscience who work with straight-edged rulers.” Lake slips, landing on the ground; but she stays put, belly all earthed-up. “Am I supposed to believe this?” she tastes the words, tonguing them for real-flavor. The kids seem to be mocking ‘work’, playing ‘building’... playing architecture... pre-teenage structural engineers? “The individual’s desire to build something should not be deterred!” Bell slips, too; landing on top of Lake, who only puffs air out in a snorty snore. “Oh my...” she says; what she thought were games that they kids were playing –using the busted chunks of roadway– she now realizes: they are building something multiform, something multimodal Something big... What is that? “Everyone should be able, and have to build, and thus be truly responsible for the four walls in which he lives. And one must take the risk into the bargain that such a fantastic structure might collapse later, and one should not and must not shrink from human sacrifice which this new mode of building demands. We must at last put a stop to having people move into their houses like chickens and rabbits into their coops.” The kids blast like fireworks, erupting into a boundless explosion of hoorays and laughter and hollering; play-making all the while. “If such a fantastic structure built by the tenants themselves collapses, it will usually creak beforehand anyway, so that people will be able to escape. But from then on, the tenant will deal more critically and more creatively with the housing he lives in and will bolster the walls and beams with his own hands if they seem too fragile to him...” Lake finally manages to to watch one single chunk of concrete move through the galactic madhouse. Following its flow: it’s first freed from the road, thrown and juggled and tossed and
69

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

talked-to and spun from one kid to another, finally to be incorporated into the playground itself; which now looks sorta like a building, but weird. Trees pierce right through it, plants and flowers nook and niche, the building is half-wild, camouflaged in nature. And, it’s walls aren’t walls, not really... they are, but they could also be a lot of things; one section is growing rapidly, as the kids are setting chunk after chunk there, it seems to be building itself; there are extreme arches, figure-eighting, slanting in, then out... and coney diamond-shapes stand-up from mosaics... with domes bubbling soapy, the structure looks semi-liquid, a lot like a cloud forming, its edges always moving, redefining, continually transforming. How easily it shifts and moves and sets, a building unlike any she has ever seen. A building that lives as a verb, as well as stands as a noun. A building that seems to question, even defy, its very self... “...in our modern functional architecture, allegedly constructed for the human being, man’s soul is perishing, oppressed. We should instead adopt as the starting point for improvement the slum principle, that is, wildly luxuriantly growing architecture, not functional architecture.” The voices of the children roar, their bodies full of life, of spirit; Bell shakes her head in wonderment: the power of the child... what couldn’t they do? She looks back to the speaker, the one striding back and forth across that long length of concrete, her step and her voice firmer than she could have imagined... for a... how old is she... could she possibly be... ten?! “The time has come for people to rebel against their confinement... Only when architect, bricklayer, and tenant are a unity, or one and the same person, can we speak of architecture. Everything else is not architecture, but a criminal act which has taken on form... Also criminal is the use of a ruler and T-square in architecture, which, as can be easily proved, have become instruments of the breakdown of the architectural trinity. Just carrying a ruler with you in your pocket should be forbidden, at least on a moral
70

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

basis. The ruler is the symbol of the new illiteracy. The ruler is the symptom of the new disease, disintegration of our civilization.” Finally Bell lifts off Lake, who finally realizes why she was having such difficulty breathing. The two lie in the gritty ground more comfortably. “Today we live in a chaos of straight lines, in a jungle of straight lines. If you do not believe this, take the trouble to count the straight lines which surround you. Then you will understand, for you will never finish counting. On one razor blade I counted 546 straight lines... “Not all that long ago, possession of the straight line was a privilege of royalty, the wealthy, and the clever. Today every idiot carries millions of straight lines around in his pants pockets. “Any modern architecture in which the straight line or the geometric circle have been employed for only a second –and were it only in spirit– must be rejected. Not to mention the design, drawing-board and model-building work which has become not only pathologically sterile, but absurd. The straight line is godless and immoral. The straight line is not a creative line, it is a duplicating line, an imitating line. In it, God and the human spirit are less at home than the comfort-craving, brainless intoxicated, and unformed masses.” Lake stuffs her hand into Bell’s mouth to smother the giggles she’s beginning to bubble-up. “Consequently, T-square structures, be they ever so curved, bending, overhanging, or perforated, are invalid...” The speaker, this little girl, walks to the very edge of the concrete slab she’s been pacing across. She leans out over the edge –looking down into the cracked pavement, to the fissure in the dead road, where the chunks are being dredged– and seems to gather and build her attention; and when she speaks again, her voice is swollen with emotion, an unspeakable thing happens inside the chests of Bell and Lake.
71

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“When rust sets in on a razor blade, when a wall starts to get mouldy, when moss grows in a corner of a room, rounding its geometric angles, we should be glad because, together with the microbes and fungi, life is moving into the house and through this process we can more consciously become witnesses of architectural changes from which we have much to learn...” “Wow,” the girls hear each other say. As the play continues, the building continues to golem; the tornado of concrete pieces, the very swirling itself, seems to become the building – pieces are set easily from each’s own trajectory, naturally, without worry or second thought, allowed to sit as each wants to fit. “Mud,” Bell finally sees it. It’s coming from the other side of the... playgrounding-building-thing. The mud is being used as a kind of mortar, to keep the concrete chunks in place. “In order to rescue functional architecture from moral ruin, a decomposing solution should be poured over all those glass walls and smooth concrete surfaces, so the moulding process can set in... “Only the engineers and scientists who are capable of living in mould and producing mould creatively will be the masters of tomorrow. And only after creative moulding, from which we have much to learn, will a new and wonderful architecture come about.” The girl cranes, looking into the distance. She hollers something, and jumps from her slab, immediately disappearing into the gang. The girls’ faces lie spilt upon the ground. They gather themselves, close their mouths, and sit up. Lake begins to giggle, and Bell elbows her. The gang of kids, slows. They slowly stop playing, stop building, a few at a time. The chunks of concrete lose their animation, become blocky and monotonous looking once again when they’re left laying on the ground. Bell squints. “What’s that?” she whispers. A squeaking. A metallic grinding. A really strange, really awesome cart80 emerges
72

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

down the lane. It’s headed towards the gang. “Oh my...” The cart is made of bicycle-parts and an inflatable raft. It’s set to run on the train tracks. Lake gasps; there’s nearly a dozen kids riding the cart, which is sailing towards the gang. A long lever rises, a grinding shrieks, and the cart slows just beside the building. The gang raucouses, erupting in excitement. They flood to the cart as one mammoth. Bell and Lake squint... “You got it!” the frenzied mammoth whales, “I can’t believe it was actually there, and you didn’t get caught! Godeau was right! He was right! Perfect! This is going to be the most incredible building ever! Now, we can really make this building! Now the moulding process can set-in; this building will be truly organic!” Lake and Bell look at each other, proving with their looks that neither of them know what on earth is going on. Each kid approaches the cart and fills their hands, their shirts-madebuckets, their hats, their arms with the mould, the green jelly that will forever keep the building responsive, reactive, evolving, and alive. “Ahhhh...” Lake quenches. Brimming with the life, the kids descend upon the building; placing the jelly into little communities, everywhere upon the building. The cart-load goes a long way. By the time the kids have emptied it, the building’s largely covered, the mould making shockingly beautiful patterns. It’s green strikes a deep, gorgeous contrast to the grey of the concrete. The building appears to flex, to breathe. They stand back and admire their work, laughing, joking, and dreaming of the building’s future. “Now, we gotta make bridges and tunnels and annexes... and laboratories and workshops!” The gang explodes in joy. Bell nudges Lake; and they back-out from their hide-out, back down the alley they came through, back towards Fundamental Boulevard, and back to the part of the park that they were never supposed to leave.
73

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

EIGHTEE N
Looking down Fundamental Boulevard –after some mushing piles, grassing-over another active building– they see the shop named EyeScream, and its banner, adangling: – Vanilla Thrilla – – Chocolat-Cha-Gonna-Get-It – – Cara-Meltdown – Feral Fruits – – Triple-Topple – CashewCashEw – – Hay Ice Cream – “Hay Ice Cream? Wildflower and grass... huh?” some random voice rises above the din. “Crisp and bracing... rousing sproutings? Weird.” “Cool,” a different voice crowns the hubbub. While Lake and Bell read through the flavors again, a staggering emerges from the EyeScream shop... A family of six. Bell recognizes the small boy from the bus, and the father who loves hybrids, and the mother who got angry because Lake was talking about trash. They are looking really, really rough now. In an emotional deluge, super skedaddle. As one, they amble right... right... right, whoa, left. Okay, okay: left. Straight? Straight. Left... The family is an amoeba – generally human. One body doing its damnedest to stay reasonable. The little ones are trying to pay attention to their ice-cream. Their beady little eyes stare at the desserts so cautiously, so carefully; seeming, somehow, so strange, so questionable. The ice cream softens, weakens, drips under their disturbed ogles. The boy from the bus panics, and flaps his ice cream like its stuck to his hand and it needs to come off. The paper wrapping around the cone zips into the air, and arcs slowly back down to the ground, where it sits, proclaiming:
74

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

We have bigger houses but smaller families more conveniences but less time; Dalai Lama; 28 of 73

Another of the kids sees that and peals his paper off:
The world is becoming more dependent on cheap fuel, not less; 25 of 73

The other two kids see now and peal theirs:
Why do we build our surroundings ‒our home‒ to the parameters of the car: its speed, its size, and its needs... rather than those of the human being; 13 of 73'

And lastly:
The Boyscouts of America have a youth anti-terrorism training program in California. The explorers program can involve chasing down illegal border crossers as well as more dangerous situations... the kids, toting compressed air guns styled to look like heavy weaponry, even once raided a simulated marijuana-growing operation. I like shooting them, a 16 yeah old scout named Noriega said. I like the sound they make. It gets me excited ; New York Times; 44 of 73

The kid who got that on his ice-cream cone looks first confused, then ill... going to be sick? Yes, he dry-heaves, spits some pink-milk. No one notices. The big dad’s eyes are busy, listing to and fro for the heads or tails of the Map in his mitts. The Map leans at once with the great head... then against: a crate on a slippery ship-deck, asail to the wild. Which’s a crate? Which’s a slippery ship-deck? Ohh, he’s wondering all right; busted and beyonded. With eyes like goldfish and sockets like fishbowls, he tries to decode the map; and so, needs to get it together. And, he knows they are looking at him... helplessly, his one eyebrow tics his face murine. “Unravel scramble...” he mumbles to himself, “too loudly?”
75

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Honey?” the kids rocket eyes at the mother: off-guard, offbalanced, just off. Their ice-cream dribbles. The ‘honey’ takes his fish off the Map, or crate, or... was it mutts... and puts them on his wife... he is dizzy... oh he is dizzy... His bulk is hucked, and thankfully caught, on the bench across the boulevard. His fishies warble down the sidestreet: a dozen automobile-skeletons –sedans, buses, coupes, trucks, and motorcycles– laden the rubbly-ground a metallic necropolis. His head lolls back to his ache-full family: “I didn’t know it would be like this...” he is backtracking, “I thought it would be educational... I thought it would be fun.” Thank heavens; the looks the family gives him are indescribable. He brushes them aside, still hoping for redemption, “Let’s go home. Everything will be great again. When we get home.”

NINETEE N
“Wow,” Lake says, “that was pretty strange.” “Yeah strange.” “You want any eye-scream?” “Uh. No. Not now. But, what’s that?” The girls approach what is probably a workshop – but what looks more like a desk, middling a concrete sea that’s sprouting little bits of greenery. They approach the desk, taking great care not to step on the plants that are so contrasted, polka-dotting the grey dryness. A table all laden with beakers and bottles and dozens of random-sized pots from which green fuzzies perch. A deck of bark-cards looking quite like flyers grabs their attention, and Bell reaches for one. Constellation Farm81. Adorable,” she says, pocketing the bark-card to study/read later. “I just love these little farms; such heart.” Looking at their feet –little clumps of moss
76

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

and lichen– and bending down they see long bulges below the concrete, like veins, swelling the concrete; some the size of fingers, some the size of thighs. “What is this?” Lake says to the girl who’s standing at the table. “A project guided by an idea: that roads obstruct nature, preventing her from entering our cities,” the girl says, a smile on her face, her hands deftly planting into the little pockmarks in the concrete. “How interesting...” Bell says. “Thank god!” Lake cries. “I can’t believe how long we’ve just accepted the fact that we have roads. I mean, what do they do? Except serve cars? And perpetuate this chaotic lifestyle?” She looks at Bell, shaking her head. “I mean, God, we have so many roads... all that space... it could be so many different things. But no. Instead, cars. So lame.” “Right.” the girls says. “My name is Sundry. If you want to help, you can. We have a lot to do.” “Bell, I’ve been thinking this lately... I don’t think I want to go home.” Lake says, wishing that her friend has been thinking the same thing. “I know. We really shouldn’t go home,” Bell says. Then, looking back to Sundry she asks, “But how did you start this project?” “We received funding through ‘We The Trees’ for our project-proposal – to hasten the breakdown of concrete. We’re focusing on these vines, these mosses, and these bulbs. Our hope is to be able to introduce a few plants to this slab of concrete, and in a short time have all that concrete busted into chunks.” “What are you going to do with all the concrete chunks?” asks Bell. “We’re going to make a sculpture. Our dream is to see citizens across the world introduce these plants –rather, their native relative– to their own stretches of concrete. Within a year, we could win the streets.”
77

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Imagine that: kids playing in the streets, without worrying of cars.” “No more automobile accidents.” “Beautiful bike paths, walkways, gardens, and life instead of sterile grey.” “We’ll come back. After we explore the Park, okay? We want to help this project,” Bell says, to Lake’s giant sigh. “Great. See you later, then,” Sundry says, as Bell and Lake wander away. Again along the boulevard, the girls become aware of a change in light. Like an emerald dissolved into the air, tinting it green; ghostship green, seen with nightvision. The girls see the color orbing like smoke, like a wall, stepping into it. At once, they become aware of a brighter center, a luminosity. The grass is glowing like it’s toxic, the trees in the yard are on, lit lime-green, that green light is... “The Church of Luminescence.” A congregation gawks at the fence. The girls angle towards the side/back of the building, for a crowd-free view... pulsing radiance, it effervesces, the grounds shimmering like a sunning lake. “What is this? Paint?” The sermon-board homilies in response:
After all, how might architects, landscape architects, and industrial designers incorporate bioluminescence into their work? Perhaps there really will be a way of using glowing vines on the sides of buildings as a nonelectrical means of urban illumination; 40 of 73

“Wow. It’s true? A skin of bioluminescence...” “It is!” Lake says, eyeing the sprouted mushrooms foxfiring the walls. The living light clusters give the church a brand-new skin and texture; fungal-cake.
78

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“It’s foxfire.” Shocked like woke with water, the girls spin towards the voice; towards Bur. “Hey!” Still staring at the illumination, Bur continues: “Foxfire82 is the light of bioluminescent fungi. There’s said to be around seventy-one species; identified.” The girls jaws drop further towards the glowing grass. “On Benjamin Franklin’s suggestion, foxfire was used for light in an early submarine called the Turtle83.” “Why do you know so much?” Bell finally asks. “Yeah. Aren’t kids just supposed to care about sex and booze and stuff ?” Lake says, half her face a scrunchie. “I dunno. I read a lot,” Bur says smiling. “What am I talking about?! It’s because this world is so messed up... I mean, have you been paying any attention? Who’s going to fix all this broken stuff ? Someone has to. Actually, it has to be us. And,” Bur says, snickering, “I was born at sea. I mean, in the sea 84.” A blinkfull pause. “Ever heard of gravity-shock?” “You mean... astronauts coming back from outer space?” Bell asks, bizarred – unable to avoid looking at the decidedly aquatic, tentacular tattoo on Bur’s temple. Bur laughs while saying, “Kinda. Since babies develop in a liquid environment in the womb, a lot of people think that water birthing is a softer, more delicate transition into the world of air...” Bur charms the air in fingers, brailleing the hidden language inherent in it. “...and that birthing straight from the womb into open air is jarring. Shocking. A lot like a concussion.” Bell nods and scrunches her chin, postulating it, gnawing her lower lip: “It does make sense...” She can’t help but wonder: am I damaged, then? “And, what’s even more wild; get this: babies can be born with dolphins85.” “Dolphins!? God. Babies could be born in the sea –with dolphins no less– they could be born surrounded by the phero79

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

mones, the bacterias, the colors, the sounds, and smells of the natural planet... Or they could be born in the hospital’s world of control and constraint, all sanitized and fumigated; ejected into a neutered setting.” “Yeah. Birth has become industrialized. I think that home birth, and midwives, and doulas are about to become super popular. I think that people are just about to realize the root significance of all this and give it the respect and attention it deserves.” “Right. All over the world people are rekindling lost traditions: languages, food culture –varieties, propagation, preservation, and preparation– handicrafts, natural dies, architecture–” “Exactly. People are really interested in liberating and celebrating the world’s diverse cultural heritage. And I think midwifery is at the front of the line. You should check out SQUAT 86, and... a film called Birth As We Know It87 , and another called Orgasmic Birth88.” “Orgasmic birth?!” they both blurt through Bur’s chuckles. “Believe it.” Unable to say anything on top of that, their eyes focus back onto the actually glowing thing in front of them... “Clovers?! Incredible!” Astonished, Bell leans into the fence, ‘accidentally’ pushing it over. It plops with less than a sound and nobody’s near enough to notice; the wooden fence right at home, already dirting. So she steps over it and bends to the lit clovers. “And it’s even light outside,” Lake says looking at the sky. “Err; it’s sorta light out. It’s actually kinda dusky.” “Yeah... it must be real lit-up at night,” Bells says fingering the radiating clovers. Bur’s voice pulses noise into the light: “People in Scandinavia would place pieces of foxfired oak bark when going into the forest. Then they could find their way back by following the light.” “Wow... I had no idea...” “Yeah. Weird.” Standing back up from her crouch with the neoning clovers, putting her elbow on Bur’s short head, it’s the
80

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

look in Bell’s eyes and no more which tells Lake. Then Bur sees it, too. All three step over the soiling fence, tiptoe through the gemflame clovers, the blades of gleam-green-grass, the little rays of filament, shockingly soft underfoot... they aim for the very back of the building. “See the windows?” Bur says. “Ah. I wouldn’t have recognized them!” The glassless windows are vaulting blocks of dark green; and noticing now, the girls see within the windows are rows upon rows of potted-plants, many with little bright berries. Nobody will see them now; they’re behind the building. The arc of trees tight, and thick, covering them from behind. They see the doors. But, “Hey! The train tracks!” Lake blurts. “Oh yeah!” Bell rides them with her eyes, off into the distance, where they seem to disappear into a tunnel. “What do you mean: the train tracks?” Bur suspicions, zees eyes narrowing in clevers. Bell and Lake don’t even look at each for confirmation: “A while ago,” Lake’s hand motions away towards their left, “where was that anyway...? Oh yeah, across from The Compote... we saw some tracks going down an alley.” Bur is frothing excitement. “Yeah, wow, you wouldn’t believe what we saw...” Finishing the story, Bell remembers that they were supposed to explain the tracks. “But, anyway, these tracks were there, too. The kids were using this modified bicycle/raft thing –which was designed to ride the rails– to bring in this crazy mould.” Bur scans both the track’s directions, curious as a cat. “We should follow it.” “Yes, we should,” Lake says, looking back at the glowing church. “But, first, let’s check this place out.” The three turn to face the church, seeming now to glow almost blue... they step towards it, lightdust splashing underfoot. Their eyes pop. The church wall is covered, radiating with...
81

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Is that mould?” “Slime pearls!” Lake nearly rubs her hand across the amphibious, wet-cave-like church wall, but pulls it back. The bluegreen blebs glimmer gooiley. Reaching the backdoor, they find it open. Sconces light the corridor they walk through: the wall all glisteny, the ornamental brackets of old iron, the glowworms serpentining – shaping a language of pure mysteriousness. And the sconces corona each of the three amazed faces in an orange, woolen light. Chandeliers stretch floorward from long lengths of rusted, decorated chain, their branches full of bulbs; occupied by fireflies, they’re flowerfull globes of amber firelight. As footfall echos, shadows puff swolley when they near a lightsource, fading behind, only to grow ahead at the next. Twinkley dust sprinkles flicks and flecks; the glowing moths flutter: drawing fade-away tracers with their after-light, airing disappearing ink. As they enter the central chamber, they step under a sky-like light, drenching. Looking up, to the ceiling, like a glass-bottom boat, they see it teeming with fish; glowing fish, fish like stars, like floating hunks of light. “I feel like I’m at the bottom of the sea, looking into the heavens.” And that’s all that’s said. After a few rich minutes –the air cold and clean and cavernous, filling the chest cavity; the light silver and deluxe, soaking; the vibe ultramarine; the body succeeds, pumping blood through the system; the brain fires and synapses burst– they shake their heads and reverse the way they came. Heads apotion, they hit the traintracks.

82

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

TWENTY
Bur reaches them first. Zhe looks back along the tracks, towards where Bell and Lake had said they’d explored. “I knew you two would wonder off like that,” Bur says, peering, “I knew you too were explorers.” “Oh?” Bell reaches the tracks next. “And where did you go?” Now, all three are standing at the tracks; Bur, neatly abalance atop one. “I’m an explorer, too; I really don’t have a choice: I have to wonder.” Bur sits, a smile winking on zees face. “I saw this building... full of windows – imaging windows.” Both girls nod in recollection. Bur scans their surroundings, “I wanna get into every building here... wander every alley...” “So what did you see?” Lake asks, psyched to know what was going on inside that strange building – its facade full of projections. “I went around back, through an alley, as you did – which shocked the shit out of me: I never saw so much food growing in one tiny space like that... there were some benches, and a table – this nice resource list89 was on it, and, I got the name of this book90, and this book91, and this book, too92 . I overheard some kids talking about some farms that don’t weed their crops; that they don’t need to. And they mentioned a guy named Andrew Faust93; they said that he doesn’t even need to water his garden. Made me wonder what else we don’t need to do...” Bur sees the girls taut with interest. “Right: the building. So I stealthed by this gang of growers, and slipped through a busted window. Right away, I saw the wires. There were wires connected to all the windows; the windows were screens, projecting images. And, I saw that the wires were piped upstairs; so I went upstairs. Every single window, on every floor, was wired. Ten windows to a story, fifteen stories maybe a few more. Oh yeah, and, a copy of the view out83

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

side –only upside-down– was being projected onto the walls and the floor...” “Camera obscuras94,” Lake says, “I saw one in Detroit95.” Nodding, Bur continues, “Every floor had a different projection, a different angle of the Park on its walls. And, the second to last floor was full of equipment – piles and piles of old-looking photography equipment, on the floor and on the tables; and climbing equipment – lots of it. Maybe I was breathing loud, maybe I was talking to myself, maybe she smelled me, I don’t know; but at that point, I heard her say, ‘Welcome. Come on up.’ So I did; while I walked up the last flight of stairs, she said, ‘You’d be surprised how few explorers I get up here...’ When I reached the top floor, I must’ve jumped: she was suspended from the ceiling, hanging there, nearly upside-down, all atangle in wires and cables and brightly colored yarn and paisley fabric. She laughed, and said, ‘I’m almost finished; a second, okay?’. I stood there, watching her flip around, talking a final nail into some board way up there. A pretty big, black cat, with a few white markings wandered over to me. I knelt down to give its chin a scrub. Then, a zip, and she dove down to the floor, caught tight at the last moment by the climbing harness she was wearing. ‘Ah, you’ve found Potato. Wanna give him some water? Just flip that switch; yes, right there.’ I did what she asked; and a tiny wooden waterwheel began to spin, the water falling to a marble-basin below. ‘It’s the park’s artesian well water,’ she said, walking towards a breathtaking candelier afloat a few feet above a laden-workbench. ‘It’s the only water he drinks.’ ‘So, whatcha think?’ she questioned. Her pinstriped coveralls were all splotched and speckled in randomy paints. Her pockets were full of paper, and as she walked leaves fell from them; she must have been all about the place, because it was covered – looked like a filing cabinet had exploded. Then I remembered she had asked me a question; I just shook my head unknowingly. She laughed softly.
84

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

‘There’s a lot happening in the world today,’ she chuckled as if she’d just made a joke. ‘A lot’s changing, my friend. And thank heavens for that! You know, you’re lucky you caught me; I’m hardly ever here, only to adjust connections and feeds, and maintenance whatever needs it. The rest of the time, I’m an explorer myself.’ Her eyes pass easily across her wristwatch. ‘How many windows have those images?’ I hear myself ask crudely. ‘One-hundred and eighty,’ she said quickly. ‘There’ll be a few more in a few days. We’re gonna add a rooftop installation.’ ‘You’ve been to all the places that are projected on the windows?’ I ask in shocked words. ‘Well, not all of them, I suppose; there are some people working with me. We’ve speculated a list of the most auspicious places in the world, the places with the most potential promise, the ripest hotspots. And we’ve installed cameras at each...’ With confusion on my face, she continued: ‘...inside presidential headquarters, CEO nerve-centers, corporate throne-rooms, and top-secret strongrooms to gather intel and develop tactics. ‘...within the Indignant Movement, the Occupy Movement, and within newly emerging arms of the mutiny to strengthen relations and offer support. ‘...to survey and protect fragile environments from being further exploited; cameras are in treetops, mountaintops, and rooftops. ‘We’ve webbed a strategic counter, a network so large, it’s nearly complete; we’re surrounding them. Practically every single left-wing/radical/liberal/environmentalist/whatever you’ve heard of, is involved; we’re throwing a coup. We’re removing the elite. It’s unanimous: we’ve had enough. And we’ll have proof so thick, and support so strong, with momentum so great, it’ll be like cutting cake.’ Her smile made me smile, too. Her grandiose bombastics were so outrageous; but, I believed her. She was more than
85

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

convincing, she was conclusive... somehow. Totally compelled, I saw so many wrongs corrected, so many mistakes acknowledged, and so many disasters prevented – just by listening to her. I saw the world poised for real progress... And I snapped back at the change in her voice when she said: ‘That’s a pretty funny face you’re making, kid. Here, have a cookie.’ We walked over to the wall, the wall with the imaging windows, to an oven I hadn’t noticed. The chocolate chip cookies were warm. A grey and brown image melted and blurred on the inside of the window. ‘We’re only leveling the playing-field, so to speak. We’re simply observing the observers, and obligating all those secret conferences and all those closed-room decisions to accept transparency. Did the people ever vote on any WTO, IMF, or World Bank decision? What are all these acronyms anyway? Did we the people ever vote on bank-bailouts? Did you ever vote to go to war? Did we ever vote on anything significant? No. We didn’t. Only puppets; we vote on puppets. Regardless of the puppet, the elite minority dominate the mass majority. And that’s just not fair. Oh, relax,’ she said comfortingly, ‘it’s gonna be just fine. It’s just transparency; it’s natural. Coffee?’ She fills two mugs with the delicious dark stuff, I grab another cookie, my heart racing, I ask all wobbles: ‘But, then what? What will happen after that? I mean... how do we decide... how we ought to live?’ And she said, ‘Aha.’ Bur’s eyes uncloud and refocus on the girls’ dropped jaws. “And?!” they shriek. “I don’t know; she said too many things, too fast. Something about re-sizing nations and the world, something about calling a funeral for corporate personhood, something about dissolving the government... and she said something about confidence; something about just letting go.” Bur feels a knot melt in zhs head, feels it unravel.
86

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Great God,” Bell hears herself say. “That’s it?” Bur’s shoulders lift and drop, suggesting so. “Yeah, that’s it. After that, she left.” “Fine, whatever, that’s totally fucked, let’s go,” Lake walks off, throwing her arms around and loading the air with consonant-heavy profanity. She remembers that they are walking along forbidden tracks, and curses to herself noiselessly. “Oh, wait! I forgot something!” Bur hisses. The girls stop dead. Lake leans in, twitching. “Drumsticks.” Faces puzzle. “What?” “Yeah, drumsticks. She had a pair of the most... I don’t know what it was about them... they just caught my attention; there was something special about them. And they sat on a rack of black, burnished bamboo. She must have seen my eyes on them. She walked to them, and told me that they were very, very special. She called them a treasure and a holy relic; explaining that they had been crafted from a tree of great importance, her hand hovering above them, she was speaking slowly.” “What tree?” “I don’t know. She didn’t say.” “Damn it, Bur. Damn it.”

T WENTYO N E
Following the tracks, the buildings gradually become trees. The debris, the concrete and bricks, all the rubbling buildings gradually become blankets of leaves and miscellaneous flora. They gradually dirt, building land. Though they couldn’t say exactly when, the three now walk through a forest, whose density and complexity is increasing.
87

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

They curve around a grove of aspens... and see a tower; the traintracks vanishing into it. They stop, and stare at their newfound destination. A long length of some plant’s raw cordage is strung across the tracks to hold a sign – Bell and Lake remember the mossing font from before – in plush, healthy curves, this sign says: The Tower of Godeau And just beyond it, the tower shows a light shade of blue below its veiny skin of vines and their dappling. Blending itself into the vines –but popping out much farther from the tower’s surface, which the vines are limited to– is a megalosoaric wisteria. “What a plant. And what a tower... Could be the city’s oldest construction,” Bur hears one of the girls mutter. Z looks left: Lake; she said it. “Dangkor...” she adds. The wisteria’s purple flowers cluster in massive bunches, like giant grapes. The main trunk stalks the tower. Its branches hugging it, actually reaching its very top. Its blossoms tiara rhythms in the wind. “Beautiful,” Bur says in a hush. “Ah. It’s a bell tower; see? There’s a room near the top. See the arches, too? It’s nearly a dome,” Bell says to squinty eyes. Taking the first step she says, “Well?” Approaching the bell tower, the three are cautious. Their footfall delicate across the last of the tracks. The mouth of the tower stays dark, despite their increasing nearness... then, actually standing at the entrance mouth, they can see a coil of lights, twisting a gorgeous math, up, up, up... tightening in on itself, slowly, accurately coming to a head. The three step inside. The first lights of the coil illumine stairs. The spiral staircase, made in massive chunks of stone –blue stone, could even be a marble the way its mottled, the same blue material of the tower’s exterior– is heavy, and strong. Looking up, into the vertical chamber, the spiraling staircase is nearly the diameter of the tower itself, just an easy arm’s reach would touch the wall.
88

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Climbing the stairs, they see that the wall is a great bank, entirely covered in drawers, cupboards, bookcases, and shelves... all mismatched, all made of random panels, pieces, sticks, and chance – whatever pieces, set however they seem to prefer; a style in which the components themselves guide and determine the creation they become. And, so many hundreds are full. As they climb, the categories change... Scores of delicate glass bottles –with thin long necks or bulbous bases, some with handsome ring-handles and others seemingly jagged with joints, and still others all curvy– and jars, beakers, crocks, and all styles of containers. Curious colors bubble from their tops, animated gurgles and fizzings resound. The smell is crisp, winey, and tonicious. Countless books and manuals and pamphlets; all sharply catalogued for any immediate referential need. Their labels pop above rows, in hand-chiseled letters: ‘Apocalypting’, ‘Architextural’, ‘Atlasing It’, ‘Bees’, ‘Bicycles’, ‘Building It’, ‘Case Studies’, ‘Cracking It’, ‘Designing It’, ‘Growing & Eating It’, ‘How To Pick’, ‘Making It’, ‘ReUsing It’, ‘Understanding It’, ‘Steampunk Mag’, ‘Freeing It’, and, finally, ‘Series and Weeklies’. Bur returns to ‘Freeing It’, and sees the main category broken down to so many subsections, type-sized just slightly smaller: ‘Un/Abandoning & Dying/Opening’, ‘Autonomous’, ‘City’, ‘Conferences, Seminars, Workshops, Panels’, ‘Constitution’, ‘DeColonization’, ‘Economics’, ‘Free State’96, ‘Governance’, ‘Home Rule’, ‘How To Start Your Own’, ‘Legaliteas/Laws’, ‘Liberation Movements’, ‘Micronation(alism)’, ‘Self-Determination’, ‘Transitioning’, ‘Voices’, ‘Hi-Quality’, ‘Specimens’... zhes eyes hop back to ‘Hi-Quality’; peering into the row, Bur chances on a few titles of the many: ‘The Decline and Fall of Private Law in Iceland’97, ‘The University Built by the Invisible Hand’98, ‘Realized Regenerative Living’99, ‘The Light Community’100 and ‘MiiU’101 , – z records in zis notebook. Meters and meters up now, guided by the coiling lights, they notice that many of the shelves and nooks and sills along the stony cylinder are also made of repurposed and random wood
89

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

and metal, rocks and bricks. Looking closer, they see the clay: many of the storage spaces appear to have it integrated in some way –as a binder, as various functional components, as decorative art. The spaces and the wall itself in this area of the tower amount to an impressive toolery. They’re full of unusual mechanisms, vintage equipment, and heirloom-looking ornaments; but very clean, they appear intelligently arranged, smart and dapper. An easy-dozen, long serrated blades line one section, the next a row of small hand-tools with corkscrew-tips, trowel-blades featuring Japanese characters, curved-scoops, and an immaculate set of chisels, plus fine knives, rock picks, a medley of axe heads with special handles, scythes, claws, cleavers, and a collection of hammers and bigger impact tools. As the toolery ends, a platform appears at their feet; extending away, continuing beyond the tower-wall, the platform curves, defining an external, circular space – Bur trips at the view; The Mountain burls in the distance like an island. The great forest –old and dense, like the ocean– lapps at its base. The three take in the view; unable to swallow The Mountain with their eyes, Bell and Lake look away, stalemated. But Bur squints for features, counting The Mountain’s faces... the distant and abstracted Wilderness offers no points of reference – aside from my own.... what a master mentor... Bur begins to calculate what a backpacking trip to The Mountain would require... “Wow,” Lake says, standing at a massive anvil. Sitting in the center of the platform, it’s the main feature. On the outside-wall, a selection of tools hang; selected upon which basis, nobody can guess. Situated at an angle that encourages consideration of the wilds beyond, stands a sturdy workbench – charged with small, separated piles of leather and a collection of leathercrafting tools. Hung to drop a meter above the table, a burnished chandelier dangles honey-colored waxicles. They give each other looks, then re-enter the tower. A couple more rotations around the spiral staircase... and they emerge into open-air.
90

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Aha. There you are–” Bur, Lake, and Bell zip in rivets; Bur drops zis notebook, “–sure took your time.” The man’s cloak moves, a smell of coconut and lavender blasts their faces. His head turns a tremendous and sagely beard from under the hood. It’s the best beard any of them had ever seen; it’s even stuck with sprigs of lavender. The deep eyes in his long face, and his beard compliment each other. “What’s that?” Bell manages to mouth, eyes locked on the beard. She sees he is standing at a massive, steaming cauldron. “Broth,” his eyes woe. “Weeds –one of my goats, one of my favorites– died last night. Not sure how; pretty bizarre. And so, broth; I’ve even added an antler I found in the forests into this batch,” he says, ladling the antler-tip for Bur and Lake and Bell to see. “Waste-not-want-not, right?” Three nodding heads. A pipe appears from the inside of his jacket. He fills it. “Waste...” he says, chewing the word along with his pipe. Bell’s eyes wander the belfry. Aside from the cauldron burbling dear old Weeds, she sees a –“ah! cute!”– a strawberry plant growing in a combat-boot, hung from the ceiling with a length of fabric. Her eyes circle the belfry’s perimeter; a dozen shoes –a couple boots, a golf shoe, a tap-shoe?– all strung, all growing little berry-givers. “This city is full of... stuff, for lack of a better word. And this stuff, is kinda like clay – it’s interpretational. But, there’s a mighty difference between the two: with clay we interpret the shape; but with stuff, we interpret the use. We mold clay into shape; we imagine stuff into use. And, I’ve spent the last years, reimagining what, is what. Because, I think that our imaginations limit our surroundings. I think our surroundings need a great stir.” He silently thinks of anaerobic sludge. “So, shoes are pots. What else could they be? It’s a question I ask myself everyday: ‘How many functions can a brick perform?’ Ah, but what about you? I’m interested: what do you three have to say? Any thoughts, or questions?” They stare at him...
91

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“I’d say,” Bell says through nervey-laughs, “I don’t even know where to start...” “Are you Geo Godeau?” Lake asks. “Sure,” the man says, moving away from the cauldron – a billow of steam and a cloud of smoke filling the belfry. Geo sets himself into a long and wide hammock. Bur and Lake see the other hammocks strung there, from the columns, and cozy-in. Bur walks towards the view. “And, who are you?” The question catches them off-guard; who are they? Ever since entering the Park, they’d shed so much identity, focusing so much on their new surroundings and this bizarre world. They’ve been so passive, taking what the Park gives. They stumble. Geo notices. “Well, that’s all right. I think we should forget that more often.” His beard waves in his guffaw. Embarrassment melted, the three manage to recite their names, but fail to remember where they are from. “Incredible view from up here,” Bur says, surveying the entire Park, gazing on Fundamental Boulevard, and all its outrageous buildings. “Yeah, it is. You can pretty much see everything from up here.” Bur’s eyes hop from landmark to landmark, overlaying the map the three saw on the bus... Bur walks a slow circle around the belfry, taking advantage of its perspective. “A bridge?! And a river?! I never knew...” Beyond the bridge, The Mountain. “Uh-huh. That’s the Glossolalic River, which runs between Fall Apart Park and The Mountain. The Glossol Bridge is the river’s only bridge, and this tower stands on the only crossing.” Bur leans zhis small body into the solid stone balustrade, zer head hanging out with the clouds in the wilds. “Do you live here?” Bur asks, trying to accept this belfry, this bell tower as a possible home. “Part-time.”
92

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Bur’s eyes gaze over the Park, seeing so many buildings –as so many potential houses– everywhere. Why, there’s a million places to live here... Then, z looks towards The Mountain and Glossal Bridge. “Are you guarding the bridge, or something?” “Mmm... no. Not really.” Geo looks around, as if spies might be floating on clouds just outside the belfry. “But: in fact, since you mention it: I’ve been to The Mountain.” Bell and Lake freak, Bur’s eyes light. With the wind caressing his beard as he turns his head, smiling: a cat drops from the ceiling! Lake flips from her hammock, thudding to the ground; Bell jumps in hers; Bur screams. The cat shoots from the ground, to a windowsill, to Geo’s shoulder. “Ah,” he says, laughing their panic away, “it’s only Moi 102, my cat.” Mel “Wow... what a strange looking cat,” Lake says dropping herself back into the hammock. “Never saw a cat like that before; what wild markings.” “It’s a sand-cat103 ,” he says. “It was here when I got here.” The way Geo said it, makes Lake wonder. “How long ago was that?” Bur and Bell look at him, wondering, too. “Oh, I don’t know; years ago. Fifteen years ago, maybe.” Moi Mel meows. “Fifteen years?” Bur steps back. “But Fall Apart Park’s only–” “I came here before the city became the park. I came here when the media declared the city finished. I watched the last of them pack-up, and leave.” The sand-cat tugs at his beard, getting wrapped-up in it, rolling around in it. He drops his massive hood, his eyes more visible, they glitter now. “Yeah, what an awesome time. All this,” his beard flicks at the park beyond the belfry walls, “and nobody. I always wanted to explore Egyptian tombs when I
93

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

was a kid; instead I got to explore my own culture’s empiric ruins. You wouldn’t believe what I found.” “Before... everyone came...” Bell blurbs. “Then, you know Atom?” Lake asks. “I do. I helped him –and his crew– strategize. Their idea to turn this city into a park was totally outrageous. I think the people stuck in the cogworks of the day-to-day really ought to see this. We are dying for some perspective. “And today is the very first day: The Great Inauguration. You must be really excited...” An unexpected smile streaks across his face, burrowing into his beard. He flips the cat upside-down, and massages its neck. “Oh, putain!” he bellows, dashing across the room; the broth flowing-over, the fire spitting exclamations, as he stirs it mellow. Moi Mel struts towards Lake; standing-up, putting –“Geo, is Moi Mel a girl or a boy?” she asks. “A girl.”– her front feet up on her hammock. “Come on,” she calls. The sand-cat hops onto her, plopping into her soft lap. Walking back towards them now, his voice sounding apologetic, Geo says, “Listen, this is really bad timing, I’d love to stay and spend some more time with you, but I really have to be going. Of course, stay here as long as you like. Oh yeah, would you mind giving Moi Mel some milk? It’s there, on the study. She prefers a puddle on the floor.” With a smile peeking from his beard, he steps over the balustrade, grabs a rope, and disappears. Alarmed, Bell dashes to where Geo had dropped, and thrusts her head out, towards the ground. “A counterbalance. He made a makeshift elevator... There he is...” Crouching towards some random plants growing on the curb, Bell sees Geo reach into them, and lift a door in the ground! “Ha!” she hoots. Attached to the door, the plants simply bend with it. The door drops, and Geo’s gone. Bell rubs her neck, and picks up the purring Moi Mel. She walks towards the study, and its milk. Moi Mel excites, realizing what Bell is about to do. She grabs
94

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

the flagon, and drips some milk upon the floor. Moi Mel dashes to it. The three bend to the floor, pressing their faces to it, watching the sand-cat lap, its tongue flipping it drop by drop.

TWENTYT W O
“Well... should we go?” Lake says from her hammock. “Yeah, suppose so,” Bell says. “I’m staying,” Bur says, stunning them. “I want to talk to him some more.” “Alright. Well, we’ll see you again,” they say, but Bell stops. “What about the book you’re going to write? Remember, you mentioned it on the bus.” “Oh yeah!” Bur takes a huge breath and squints zher eyes. “But I changed my mind since I said that! I was planning to make a radical exchange reference book –for alternative models of production and consumption– including Local Exchange Trading Systems104 , open-money105 , closed-loop input/output diagrams for buildings106, blocks, streets, neighborhoods, and cities. “But instead, now I want to make a kind of headquarters with all that information, and more, on display. I should be able to find some building somewhere... I’ll get a huge-huge map, and it will be super up-to-date, identifying where the hackerspaces107 are and where the co-working spaces108 are, where the new cafes and gardens and print-shops and venues and everything are.” “Good God,” Bell says. “Maybe we do have a chance. See you soon, eh?” she says as she turns towards the stairs. Descending the tower, they retrace their steps back towards Fundamental Blvd – of course stopping at the door in the ground that Geo had gone through. Lake buzzes seeing Bell lift the living-camouflage from the secret door. She turns around, beaming at Bell. “Wonder
95

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

what Bur’ll get into this time,” she says, already approaching the cracked passageway. They are curious immediately. An immaculate passageway, a pristine, marbled wonderland. Its curvature and archways perfect. Paintings and sculptures and calligraphy lining its walls and filling its alcoves. “Wow. This is stunning,” Bell says, agoggle. “Really reminds me of the Moscow Metro stations.” “Yeah, only this is much narrower,” Lake says, turning sideways to fit between two chiseled wizard statues. “Yeah, but it’s just as high,” Bell says into the airy vaults above. “Think this was the city’s storm-drain or utility tunnels or something?” “Not sure what else they could be,” she says. After some minutes, they reach an intersection. Four giant sculpted women column the corners. Naked but for paint, they stare down each other’s passageways. Shrugging, the girls turn left. After some meters, they reach the end, and a red door. Opening it, the girls step into a minimally furnished camber; a bearskin rug, a dark wooden desk –with quill, ink, and paper– candles, and a natural skylight giving ventilation, but more noticeably, fresh rainwater for the pool at the room’s center. “Another of Geo’s residences?” Bell wonders. “Could be... I wonder how many he has.” The girls turn around, shutting the door behind them. Again reaching the intersection, they turn another left; wondering if they may continue to turn lefts, until they depart the way they had come. “What’s that smell?” Lake says. “Dirt?” Sniffing, Bell says, “It’s gotta be. Fresh dirt.” Climbing the steps they find before them, the girls lift the hatch to find a building, “What... is that?” Bell says, looking at the pipes that quill the building aporcupine. They take care to restore the natural96

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

camouflage that hides the door below them, and begin their approach towards the quilly building. But they don’t get far. The only strip of asphalt –still managing an unbroken stretch between the camo-door and the building– appears to have mushrooms erupting through it, splintering it and bursting it like so many sprouts in dirt. They look up from the mushrooming asphalt and see thousands of mushrooms, growing in uniform rectangles. “What is this? Rectangular beds of mushrooms? What in the world?” Bell says spinning on her heel, gazing at so many plots of mushrooms. Rectangles as long as a person is tall, checkerboard the ground. As they stand there, building a reason, a big beard flashes. “Geo! You scared the lights out of me,” Lake says, her hand at her heart. “Oho! So sorry about that... It’s hard not sneaking up on people, you know? Here I am, living my life, and there you are, living yours; and bingo. Here we are.” “Right,” Bell says. “Right. But, what’s the deal with all these symmetrical rectangles of mushrooms? Some kind of harvesting operation?” Geo looks behind him, to the building, and says, “I’ve got a few minutes; want to sit for a while?” The girls nod, and he leads them to a ring of chairs encircling a fire-pit. “Alright. You’ve found a very unusual place in the Park. Maybe the most unusual. Not very many people know this, but there was one person who still lived in this city when I arrived. Deacon was resistant to leave. He wanted something better, something fantastic for this city. So he stayed when everyone fled, and began dreaming a new city.” As always, Geo’s smile plays above his beard. Reaching into the chest pocket of his tweed jacket, he unveils a small tin. Opening it, reveals a grip of leaves, green and brown, and a stack of oversized papers. While rolling a cone, he continues to explain, “I thought he was crazy. At first. He wanted
97

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

to repurpose the city’s cemetery; a good idea: to make amends with the dead, departed city. From these expended remains, he wanted to create power. He was sickened at how the human body resembles a toxic sponge when finished. As if by living, we slowly fill our bodies with crap, and by the end of it, when it’s time to go, we leave behind this sack of poison – empty of memories but full of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, radiation, and God knows what else. So, this old dude, Deacon, he was really into mycotech109 and mycoremediation110.” “Mmm, yeah, I’ve heard of Paul Stamets111 and mycofilteration...” says Lake. “Right; so you know how mycelium can clean the soil. Deacon was into cleaning our dead bodies – detoxifying them. So at first, yeah, I thought Deacon was crazy. He was old, he was weird, he was a bit of a cook. But you know what? He was right, and he was onto real recycling: recycling ourselves. And one day he told me about this mushroom death suit112 .” Geo stops speaking and lights his cone. Speaking into his blown ghost, he continues, “So we started designing it. Meanwhile, I kept wandering the City and he kept preparing this cemetery. We spoke regularly, at one of my places, or his church–” “The Last Church?!” Bell pops. “It was his house, yeah. Amazing, huh? But you should’ve seen it when he lived there. He was also looking for treasure when he was digging up the bodies; his house was stuffed full of it. Anyway, when we found him dead, we found him wearing the finished mushroom death suit. Okay. That’s part one. Part two goes like this. “I mentioned that Deacon had been transforming this cemetery. When he died, I found the details in a book, in a stack of books, on one of his desks. He wrote extensively. And had a lot of desks. And in this book I found was an account of his life, as he came to turn the cemetery into a great compostery. According to the book, he had already transformed his mother’s body, and
98

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

half of the cemetery residents into power; creating twelve to eighteen months of hot water – for showers, heating greenhouses, and his own church; methane gas113; and of course, a huge pile of great compost.” Geo pauses, puffs, and continues, “His plan was to power the City.” “That’s... incredible,” Lake says, not wiping the drool from her mouth. “He said his inspiration was Jean Pain114 who developed the hot-water/biogas system in France, in the 1970’s; and Compost Power115, an organization who are also trying to improve upon the system.” “And it works?” Bell says, wondering if she too ought write a book, a memoir, detailing her life. “Sure. Except we’ve switched from using bodies, to using the beer-mash from Crinkledagger Bittergourd, the kitchen scraps from The RealiTea House, the manure from the cows and goats at iScream, as well as the manure from some of the City’s residents – the rest compost their own.” “Shit: Poop! I knew it! I knew poop wasn’t shitty!” hollers Bell. Geo giggles. Then he says, “Alright, that’s it, I gotta go.” He stands up, and smiles at the girls, his beard waving goodbye. But stops. “Ah, one more thing,” he says a touch oddly. “You should take this,” he says, handing them what looks like a complex bone. “I found it a long time ago, it was the only bone left inside of the giant turtle that Deacon once found in a grave. Weird, likely, but I imagine you’ll find some use for it.” They take the giant thing that now looks like some kind of primordial mask, and wave in response, then look at each other. “Fundamental Boulevard,” he says pointing, “is that way.” “When will it end?” Bell says, slowly shaking her head. “I don’t know?” Lake says, shaking hers a touch faster. Beyond bewilderment, the girls walk the direction Geo had pointed and quickly regain Fundamental Boulevard.
99

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

T WENTYTH R E E
Across the boulevard... “Wow! That’s amazing!” Bell’s eyes are grand canyons. It takes a few looks to take in the tall building – The RealiTea House. It looks to be –at first– simply tiled... “Wow! That is amazing!” Lake’s mouth is a vault. The next look sees the building’s skin: tessellated in scales, plated like the shield of a turtle’s shell... Escher’d, honeycombing, reptilian. The third look discerns the building properly; the building is a giant Dragon. The whole thing, all three floors of it, from ground to roof, tiled, skinned in scales... scaling the color of the shaman’s rainbow: rust and rawhide, orangutan and oaken, yelllow, grape, blew, indite; white and black. The Dragon’s face is planetary, just left of the old wood doors. “Look at its face!” Just to the side of the doors: its texturing leaping off the wall, bursting, gaining life. Swinging like a fist from a curtain. Like a statue breaking its spell, goleming. “Very incre–Woh!” Bell is jumping, squealing like a slapped piglet. “See that?!” Her hands twist in themselves, at her heart; the beat ing thump ing re verbs chime ing her nails int witch es. “Alive?!” Lake cradles her chin, mashing her knuckles into her mouth. The Dragon’s head, beading sparkle wet, in lurchfull charge; the face gleam teeth. Eyes savage. Clean. Ready. Defined, honed as a blade, magnuming. Alive. “It moved?” No way, no way. It couldn’t have. It can’t. No way... In front of their eyes: a line of light eels electric... glistering the dragon’s noxy snout... a sunbeam along a long fish. Reflexively, Bell looks to the sky and her head falls from her shoulders.
100

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“God damn it.” She tries to breathe, but makes a butchery. Pointing: “The sun. It. Just, moved. I saw it... It went off the horizon; and came back... back into the sky.” They look to the sun. But they don’t say anything; can’t say anything. What could they... They look around at the other people, who look around at the other people, looking around. Bell and Lake both return to the dragon’s head; which seems to be looking straight into them. Mouths gawped – they don’t know what to do. They look at each other, finding some relativity, some grip in each others lostness. “I don’t know. Even if it did move...” Bell’s eyes zip back to the Dragon’s. Then she looks to the other side of the door, on its right, at the dragon’s tail; spaded devilushly thick, doubly so, raspy-sharp thick-in-rows as-shark-teeth-are. And, there, clutching the clutch of tail-blades: a small Boy. The figure of the child is also raised in hugh-relief, but more so, outrageously so, exploding from the wall’s flat surface. More like a statue touching a wall, than a painting reaching out. Embossed in dimension, the Boy is... Bell steps near, crouching low, next to the boy who is almost entirely out of the wall... only connected to it by his left leg, at the knee, and at the foot. He’s emerging from the flat-space. His left hand around the Dragon’s tail; his right hand, those fingernails... digging into the earth at Bell’s feet, at an arm’s length from the building’s wall; she dips her head to the ground, eyeing their fine-print. The fingernails digging, trying to dig, to catch into the soil, to get a strong enough grip with the earth. His elbow spraying dust pieces like a disc dashing dirt – Bell touches the dirtclumps, somehow hanging there in the air, in limbo. His torso twisting for leverage, his ribcage wrought, Bell touches his arm, delicate and robust. His eyes his shoulders his biceps his toes his neck his calves his thighs, his wholeness straining, straining to hold the beast down, to keep it grounded. Bell realizes: it’s the crucial moment; the moment of decision. It’s now or never; the
101

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Boy will hold the dragon down, or he will disappear –Bell sniffles, Lake thinks, seeing a tear cornering her friend’s eye– flung into oblivion. Two windows: one square above the Dragon’s head and one above the Boy and the tail. But these windows aren’t glassed, and the warmfull oranging, which only candles and flickery flames can make, frames them snug. A thick black fabric, bound up and tied off, to a lumping nug with a length of vine, covers each opening. On each sill, cactuses bloom and spider plants hang. The dragon, its head and tail at either side of the door, lead the girls to think that it wraps all the way around The RealiTea House... “Looks like the Dragon is holding the building down, anchoring it. Or hugging it. Or choking it,” Lake says. “Looks like the Dragon swallowed the building,” Bell golems. “Maybe it’s buttressing,” Lake pragmatics. The girls give each other a look of helpless excitement, a look of being awake; and they walk around the building, along a trod-to-dirt trail... The walls are made of earth of adobe bricks. Much of the building is of simple rectangular mud bricks, but the Dragon’s bricks aren’t: they are trapezoids. And they sit at angles, thus embossing, defining the creature even more, freeing him from the flatness of the structure even more. An earthen cob rounds the sharp corners of the bricks, giving curves and sensuality and believability to the whole piece. A tremendous membrane –made of a million tiny shields– cloaks the entire creature. Circling the bone-plate beast, the girls see that many of the scales sink flush with the wall and are actually stained-glass windows: little portholes which shaft light inside. The beast’s body rounds every corner, easily standing on a hundred legs.
102

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Look at them: thrusting out, sinking into the earth...” Bell says, stepping carefully around a foot looking “...like a Brobdingragian116 knife-block.” “...look like the legs are about to launch the big building... as easily as a twig swifted to a new nest... as second-thoughtfull as a trashed receipt.” At times running their hands upon the silvering, starring body; at times stopping, standing still, saying nothing, feeling hammered, feeling nailed; at times, not having any idea what they feel, but feeling it anyway. Just now reaching the backside of The RealiTea House... “Ah,” Lake says, squinting at the ground, just ahead. “Finally. Another trail.” Bell leans from side-to-side, to look through the trees that stand thick before them.

T WENTYF O U R
Stepping foot inside the forest, fills their ears with a soft slosh, like a honeyfall. Wondering if she ever saw a trail in the first place, Lake is weaving through trees; tress that eat buildings, trees that use them for step-ladders, and trees that are filled with leaves of blue-green and blue silk. The sloshing sounds begin to swell, a little louder and a little louder... Lake has left the trail, now she’s following the sound. A brighter green, a fluorescent green, sparks from behind the next clutch of trees. As they exit the forest, they enter a forest garden117. Layers and layers of plants stratify; food-bringing plants so old, tall, and mixed, they forest. Lake reaches up, and grabs a fig, an apricot, and a lemon; Bell’s hand drops to the ground,
103

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

scooping strawberries, fallen walnuts, and arugula. “Remind me to tell you about a short video118 I saw one time.” Bell says to Lake. “Yeah. I’ve for one for you, too119,” Lake says, a kiwi exploding between her teeth. They eat while they walk, the sounds of water falling louder and crisper with each step. “Woops! Uh, excuse us... miss,” Bell says, wheeling around, her red face inches from Lake – who’s eyes flash in shock. Lake is leaning slowly, wanting to look around Bell, to see what made her turn around. But Bell’s face says no. “Oh, it’s okay, cute girls,” the voice is warm and lovely and Bell turns back around without even thinking. “Come sit.” “What a beautiful accent,” Bell says softly. “It’s foreign,” the woman in the water says. “You can call me Nomadia,” she says from her small island a few meters from the water’s edge. The girls gasp. A very daughter of the moon, her skin just as white; her hair more voluminous than her body, curls and curls and curls of silver. A young, terribly beautiful... Lake and Bell stop. They run through their mental-catalogue of ethereal women-types, too perfect for this world, believable only when in song and rhyme: fairy, elf, nymph, sprite, sylph, spirit? Something. She is something, different. Lake and Bell stand open-mouthed, dumbfounded. “Lake,” Lake drivels. “And Bell.” “Come now. Relax. You’re fine,” she says, sitting upon a willow-woven chair, the shape of a hug, her toes giving cafune to the water’s surface. “You two must be such brave, new explorers. Why, you must have all kinds of thoughts and ideas. I can tell: you two really want to live your lives. No half-life for you. Am I right?” The girls nod an ‘of course’. Unable to take their eyes off her, they stagger almost blindly towards the pond. A mmm-mmm murmur babbles-up near Nomadia. An area the size of a bathtub
104

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

appears to boil; the water sloshing and splashing. “It’s a spring,” Nomadia says, noticing their gaze. “A really special spring.” Bell looks back to the woman-being. “I guess, I thought they were clothes... but, now your... are they paintings? Or tattoos?” Bell says all bewildered, looking at all the images of animals and plants and people upon the woman’s body. “I’ll show you; and anyway, you must be thirsty. You can drink. It’s very good water. Very old. Very clean,” she says, removing her necklace. Taking it, the girls see that a gourd is hung from the necklace. “Use it to drink,” Nomadia tells them. “Oh. Right. That’s what,” Bell says, bending to the pond, ladling a gourd-full. The smell of water splashes into her. “Never smelled water before...” she mumbles. She stares at the gourd briefly, impressed by the variable uses of the thing, before she touches her lips to it. “Wow! That is good! Tastes like crystals...” she says, giving the gourd to Lake, after dipping and draining another gourd-full. Lake drinks too, and declares the highest deliciousness. She drinks three. Tired, or just wanting to rest, the girls sit where they stood, in the patch of moss and low grass that rings the burbly pond. “Watch,” Nomadia says. And the girls do. As they begin to wonder at what they are supposed to watch, they see it. Their portraits begin with a sketch upon Nomadia’s waist; above a squirrel and next to a man who seems to be wearing only a single ribbon tied to a bow. Their faces fill-in with color and shading. And as soon as it began, it’s over. “They’re... perfect,” Bell says awestruck. “But...” Lake mumbles, unable to form any real words. “Your hair: are you making something with your hair?” Bell asks curiously. Nomadia’s hand sweeps behind her shoulder, and reveals all the hair that was behind her back: certainly as long as she is tall. “My hair is always this long; no matter how much I cut it.” She grabs a long, curved blade from her island and slices an arm’s
105

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

length of her silver curls. And just as she does, the hair is as long as it was before being cut, in a mere moment. “So, I’ve been knitting,” she says, giggling. “Knitting? Your endless hair?” Lake says, wondering if she will ever get used to all the outlandishness of Fall Apart Park. “Uh-huh. Right now, I’m making a cape for my friend Atom–” “Well, he really could use a cape...” “He sure could. And I’ve already made this,” she says, showing a hat. “A Captain’s hat for Bittergourd.” Nomadia sees their looks spell unrecognition. “Don’t know him, eh? You’ll meet him soon, I’m sure. And I’ve already made a set of ear and pad warmers for a cat-friend of mine–” “Moi Mel?!” the girls blurt unabashedly. “You know Moi Mel, too? Wow, you really are explorers. But, no: not for Moi Mel. For Potato.” “Oh, right,” they say, remembering the cat from Bur’s story. “We know Potato, too,” Bell says proudly. “Do you? And for Geo Godeau, a necktie.” “A tie?” “He absolutely loves them,” she says. “You should ask to see his collection. Ah. And, of course, this bag.” “What’s it for?” Bell asks suspended. “For a very, very special set of drumsticks.” Lake furrows her face in thought... “Oh! I remember Bur telling us about those.” “Listen to me. Those are very, very, very special sticks.” “Okay,” Bell gentles. But Lake sighs, tired of ridiculousness, tired of so many fantastic stories that are never explained; the sky always mutating, the black-and-white Compote, Bur’s story of the building with all the images and the woman’s story of launching a global coup on the corporate elite, a cemetery compostery, this... water spirit, and now some magical drumsticks. “What?” she says, surprised by her
106

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

own voice. “What do you mean ‘very, very, very special sticks’? I mean, are you planning on telling us why they’re so special? Or would you rather it stay secret with all the other secrets around here? I mean, look at you. What are you, some kind of water goddess?” Nomadia posits a face that’s totally unfazed. In outrageous fact, she smiles. “I don’t know. I guess, I might be. Or, anyway, you might just decide I am. But I don’t think I’m anything.” She leans forward, “I’ll tell you a story, okay?” Lake shakes her head, cursing a short string. The girls coze a touch comfier into the moss. “Years ago, when all the original citizens of this city fled, but before Atom and his crew arrived, Geo was here. And he spent a lot of time wandering around the ghost-city. He learned many things then, as the city was truly open. He spent months exploring and observing, slowly collecting the useful materials that had been left behind, slowly accumulating an extensive understanding of the city – its reaction towards its abandonment, its speed and style of disintegration and transformation, its topography, and the different personalities it kept down different alleys, rooftops, and forgotten rooms. “And among all the things he was searching for, one was water. Though he never found a creek or pond, he did find one place that was always damp, always soggy. Now, Geo knew how critical water is. He knew that if this city were to have any strong future, it needed clean, free-flowing water in abundance. Then the insects and amphibians will come, followed by the birds, plants will begin to thrive and diversify, and the vitality of the city will soar exponentially. “He dug and dug, but the water would not come. And so, he decided to have a party. He foraged morels and truffles, picked young sword fern fronds, and prepared a special ash goat cheese. Along with a gallon of cherry and spruce-tip wine, he laid a great
107

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

table. Throughout the night, until daybreak, he sang and danced to the water, inviting it to come. And I heard him. “Maybe you won’t accept this, maybe you won’t let yourself, maybe you need to ask a million questions or see proof; but I’ll tell you anyway: water follows me.” Lake’s scowl curbs the scoff that was just about to shoot from her mouth. Bell doesn’t even moan. She’s completely silent. “So I came to Geo, and listened to his story. And I decided I would live here. That way, he can teach me to dance! Hysterical!” Both girls breathe heavily. “Well...” Bell says, “Okay. Okay. It’s the most fantastic thing I’ve ever heard, but, okay.” “And so now, you stay there, on that little island –because you can’t go away, otherwise the water will go away, too– and knit your hair into outrageous gifts for your friends?” Lake says. “You must have the most relaxing life... and you saw –you caused– this food forest to blossom,” she says looking around them, at all the life throbbing in all the leaves and trunks and fruits. “I love you,” she blurts. “I want the world, the world I’m from, to be more unacceptable, to be more extraordinary.” “I’m glad you want that. Because that is exactly what is happening. But one thing: this is a food forest, but it’s also a mycoforest120.” At first, Bell and Lake thought it was a weird cloud, moving really fast. Then they thought it was a tight, but wavy flock of birds. And then they realized: butterflies. What could only be called a flock of giant butterflies clouds above, and begins to fill the food/mycoforest with purple and red wings the size of pillows and bed sheets. As quickly as they appeared, the disappear. Lake and Bell look at each other, and shake laughing heads. “I bet you two would like to get going, huh? There’s a lot to see here and I wouldn’t want you to miss anything. You can come back anytime you like.”
108

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Uhhh, yeah. Sure, we should go,” Lake says, wondering if it’s actually true. “Right. But before you go, I’d like to tell you one last thing.” Relieved, Bell and Lake stop. “It’s something simple, really. Water has memory121.” “Oh yeah,” Bell says, “I saw a movie once –What the #$*! Do We (K)know!?122– that talked about that. Never really sure I believed it... But, of course, that’s all part of it...” “Sure. Projections and projections,” Lake says remembering so many impassioned responses to the idea of water-memory. “Seems like everyone makes it what they want. Some of my friends, they think it’s such shit physics. Other friends think it proves that homeopathy works. And maybe that’s just the point. We’re almost all water, and so is the planet; we all see what we believe, right?” “Right. So, if you could just write something on the water’s surface; anything you like.” Bell and Lake make faces and lean towards the pond. Bell writes ‘onomatopoeia’ and Lake writes ‘Get Better’123. But like written in mud or whipped cream, their words stay. Small ripples roll through their letters, which wave through. The words stay, as Bell and Lake stand, and they continue to stay as the girls look over their shoulders, waving goodbye. “Wait!” Nomadia calls out to them, just before they disappear behind a curtain of foliage. “I want to give you these. I just made them.” The girls turn and walk back towards the pond, thrilled to be given gifts. “I thought, just maybe, somebody would wander out here today, on The Great Inauguration. You will be going to The Lith tonight, I imagine?” Her body slips into the water like a lover into a bed of silk. Her body glides below the surface, like a dolphin, and she pops-up at the bank right next to the girls. Close-up, they see her eyes are a purple-grey and her witchy, though young nose lightly freckled. Her lips are plush. “Bracelets,” she says, handing the girls the bands.
109

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Wow, they’re gorgeous,” Bell says, stroking the tight weavework. “They sure are. Thank you. But, they’re not silver; like your hair,” Lake says. “No, I make lots of dyes,” her arm slides through the air, “the forest is full of color. But listen. Today’s a special day. Remember these bracelets. Okay?” The girls nod their heads; perhaps beginning to accept the continual ludicrousities. “Goodbye now,” she says, slipping back into her liquid. They girls stare at each other briefly and shake their heads, then walk away. Some minutes down the trail, Lake reaches into her backpack... and pulls out a toothbrush and a little container. “I made some toothpaste-powder out of turmeric and prickly ash bark. Want some?” “No thanks. I stopped using dental equipment some years ago,” Bell says, eyeing the surrounding shrubbery. “Aha!” She steps off and squats amongst some thin ferny-looking plants. When she returns, she’s got her mouth full of them. “Aye yuse dees doh124 ,” she manages to enunce through a plant. “Horsetail. It’s incredible. You can actually use it in lieu of sandpaper. That’s weird.” “Wow... really? No toothbrushes? But your teeth are perfect...” And before they know it, they’ve returned to the back of The Realitea House. The wall is a variety of windows, all shapes, and all sizes. The girls find a large enough window to share; looking inside...

110

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

T WENTYF I V E
Below the plank chiseled to read: The RealiTea House, suspends another: The World Cafe – The Doomsday Cafe. A pot of heady tea aids every table. The girls see a guy stand where everyone in the room can see him; he stands sturdily, silently calling attention, and the noise of the room softs, drops, then snuffs entirely. Given the space, he says to them: “Welcome to the Doomsday Cafe. Okay everyone. In tonight’s Doomsday Scenario, the electricity has died; several days ago; there was a black-out. But it didn’t stop; we are still out of power. And now, we’ve just found, through a team of scouts, no electricity exists within at least three-hundred miles – at least. For all we know the country’s, the planet’s, electricity is gone. And without it, we can’t turn on the lights; we can’t machine-wash our clothes; we have no refrigerator; no internet. And most formidable and awesome: without electricity we can’t get gasoline; because all the stations rely on electricity to pump.” The guy pauses and gazes the room down. “Now: how many are we here tonight? Mmm... seven tables, four people each, plus me: 29. For the most part, we are 29 strangers. 29 strangers who now must work together, who now must coexist to make decisions, to survive. 29 strangers living together in a post–... world.” He sips his tea. “I bet some of you wouldn’t –perhaps couldn’t– imagine the world without electricity, that you just won’t see the world without such boundless energy; that many of you would reject the very situation, that you would get up and leave. Just like that. I wonder: how many of you can’t accept this situation... “Could we get a show of hands: who would leave? Who thinks that this is an impossible, boring, or otherwise useless activity?” Five hands rocket. Five more see those and rise, too. That’s ten... Then, one here, a few over there, raising scratchily, almost
111

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

chickeny. A few more straggle behind. The individual hands drop slow. “Okay,” he says nonchalantly. “Please raise them again, so I can count the total.” A weird smile teeters his face. “Alright. So it’s seventeen who would leave now?” Some nods and some reserved signals say that it’s so. “You, seventeen,” he grabs an empty chair, it pivots and swings around, “who don’t want to imagine The End, who cannot place yourselves under such outlandish odds,” he dips his body into the chair, slipping into it, shoulders comforting, “leave.” No pause for effect: “Get out.” He says it sipping his steamy tea. A strewn number of weird looks batters the room. Some stand, some more stand. Coats are grabbed inappropriately, chairs are mashed back uncomfortably. A song is made of odd scrapes and off gruffs; a tempo hits the people and they feel stoned, out. The bizarre song lifts, soars, sags, dips, and crash. “Yes. Why should we –why should you– care about anything we can’t see? Why concern ourselves with anything beyond our noses? It’s not our problem. So what if we are destroying ourselves and ruining the planet? It’s what everyone says, right? Just the same old song. Looming catastrophe, potential havoc, blahblah... Why should you care.” Those seventeen are gone – flummoxing into Fall-Apart-Park. Hack and hawked, the speaker’s throat clears. “Great. Seventeen gone. See how timid they are, too? That’s not a reciprocal question. You saw.” He looks around the loosened, lit room; at the same time, cracking his neck a little. “Seventeen... not so many... So, what are we now?” Pause; some people count. The twelve ‘we’ look around at each other ‘twelve.’ Stop. Start: “The electricity has gone out. We do not know the extent of the collapse.” He hooks a candlestick, lifts it before his beardy chin. “It’s over.” Dramatically. Heavily. Realistically. “Food. Water. Fire.” Pause, launch: “We have little; I assume you realize that. Please... renumber yourselves: four to a table.” A
112

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

scurry happens and pots of tea pop round, bamboo-cups follow in elliptical whirl. The reorganization is quick. “Welcome to the Doomsday Cafe; thank The RealiTea House when you get the chance.” He lifts a vast cone from his flannel pocket and strikes a match... The man lifts a flap of fabric; a giant chalkboard full of words. The World Cafe125 is titled at the top and a five-fold method bullets below. He gives the guests a few minutes to read. He waits easily. A waitress delivering a fresh pot of tea stops and speaks with him. She leaves. The cup lifts from his table and he drinks, slowly, attentively, the tea must be quite hot. Yeah, see the steam... “The electricity has stopped. And for that matter, so has reality as we know it... What do ‘we’ do?” Each table begins their conversation. The moderator scratches chalk on the blackboard, collecting whatnot from the verbal hubbub. Scratch, hub and what... Conversations around the room bushwhack... That’s when Bell and Lake hear –coming from Fundamental Boulevard– singing?

113

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

TWENTYS I X
The boy –in face, fifteen... in composure, older... his eyes are gray– is almost skipping, but not quite; there’s something about the way he steps off the balls of his feet; it’s a frisk, a prancing. Averve avim, as if with springs for bones, he’s twoinging down the boulevard. His self is flinging. In being flung, he lets himself go. Furthering into the energy coiled inside his youth. He whisks and whips. Increased by his speed, he’s shredding through the heart of Fundamental Boulevard. Seeing him is a shock. It’s weird for the visitors: they gasp and scream– “How rude!” or “God damn it!” or “What do you think...” –tearing like paper to get out of his way. He loves their faces, the way it dawns on them: they need to move immediately, or else crash into the foreign object which is his body. He even swerves toward those with the most shock-value – to those who might give a greater, more colorful freakout; so caught and taken by the buildings around them... observing, wandering a million miles away from their heads... Wondering at The Substantiating City, this open-air extravaganza... only to be spanked back into place, forced to bound out of the running boy’s recklessness, their attention reraveling to a knotfull spewl. So close to colliding; but nobody ever crashes into him. That’s because they can hear him coming. They can hear the warning, they can hear him screaming at the top of his lungs. “Oh Sinnerman, where you gon’ run to? Sinnerman, where you gon’ run to? To the Rocks! But the rock cried out: ‘I can’t hide you!’ Don’t you see I need you rock?!” Arms flinging, catching, and swirling around a lamp-post, his hat pinioned in place by his fingers, by the palm of his hand, ricocheting to the top of a street-side EyeScream table, the patrons rocking in trauma, outraged and pissed, their towers of ice cream crashing to the ground.
114

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“I run to the Sea; it was bleeding! I run to the River; it was boiling!” He is on top of the long-long-table now – which stretches streetside, which is surrounded and totally full of people, people recessing from the brutality of The Park. But they aren’t recessing anymore: Atom’s actually kicking cones out of hands like balls off tees, and pirouetting like a pickled popper. Drinks are spilling and puddling, laking, then rivering the tabletop. His bare feet pink and brown, leaving a gnarsty trail of smudge and crud, gooey and gucked. “Please hide me, Lord! Go to the Devil! So I ran to the Devil! He was waiting!” Suddenly springing off the table, back to the ground, he twists and whips like a body lost control, like a new country’s first flag, like a galactic, magmatic celestial body rising. Customers are tizzed and ruffled, trying to accept yet another outrageous spectacle... staring at his tracks... is this really happening? He hears their words mix even as they try to sort themselves out: “...wrong to be problem is weird way is his wrong to be an idiot and loud...” “Power! Power! Power! I run to the River; it was boiling! I run to the Sea; it was boiling!” he hollers yet louder. Immediately, a hostess –sidestepping, even seeming to ignore the boy, just letting him rampage-on– wipes the table-top, swipes the dusted desserts and replaces the melteds with fresh! The boy storms on, in his bellows, through the doors, into the EyeScream shop. “Where were you? Hear me Praying Lord.” Those inside, seated at tables or standing in line, realize what all the noise was about. Confronted, they scramble out of the boy’s way. He hoists himself upon the counter, flailing and thrashing. Utterly possessed. He shoves his eyes into the faces daring to
115

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

watch, cackling and chirping. Vaulting over the counter to the other side, those working in the shop make way: “Sinnerman you ought to be praying! Sinnerman, you oughta be praying!” His hands shoot at the flavors; of a sudden: three-scoops roost in each waffle-conedhand. His butt twirling upon the counter. He cackles like The Death Owl126, and swoops towards the door, roaring; head back and throat wide: “Power! Power! Power! Pow-er! Pow-er! Power!” The EyeScream shop is stunned dumb, mouths open, eyes and teeth, arms slack; and the kid is gone. But they can still hear him, shivers still sending, as his singing weaves down Fundamental Boulevard... again through guests and visitors of the great crowd. Just like a terribly-timed alarm-clock, coldly-cawing... just like a trigger tripping a heady hammer... he is bucketing people into attention: between his song, like a backbeat, their shouts and calls and whines and huffs string the boulevard. Everybody’s distinct head gets hit particular: many stop, froze-still, and watch; some drive their looks away, hoping to ignore the freaky scene, hoping it will just go away. He spooks the hell out of a lot of people; but, he also makes a lot of people laugh. All the way down the boulevard – to The RealiTea House. Someone catches it: “Nina Simone127; that’s a really good song128 . You know, I heard Tom 129 sing that one time and –yeah; Dennison– and...” The boy whirls behind The RealiTea House. And turning its corner bandily: “Hey,” says Bell. “Hey Atom. What are you up to?”

116

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

T WENTYSE V E N
Breathing boffy billows: “Hey! Ah. Hi!” Lips curled crescent, hair tousling out of its band, eyes wild, Atom looks like a real fiend, a real freakshow. “Good timing,” he says, shoving an icecreaming tower into each of the girls’ hands, dropping them so that they have to take it, before even knowing what it is. Atom chins-to the dragonic building: “Pretty wild building, eh?” “I can hard ly be lieve this build ing,” Bell says, flittering her words in icecream. “Mmm! I have n’t had i cecre am in for ever.” Atom looks pleased. Not with himself; with the amount of joy the two girls are in. “What is this flavor? Grass?” Lake’s tongue slops around inside her mouth, her head tilted back a bit, to keep the goo in while she speaks. “Hay,” he says. “Goat milk? It tastes like a dirtier teat [“human”] than a cow’s...” she asks; but atom’s answer ended up buried in the middle of her question, so Lake didn’t hear. Bell thinks she heard them both right, but Atom switchquicks: “Hey,” he says. “Did you go up there?” The girls follow his look, to a leaning ladder, visible, but overwhelmed by the ludicrousity of the building, reaching The RealiTea House rooftop. “No. But we want to.” He fronts the ladder and pitches up, rung by rung... changing his tune, from Nina Simone to a slow, ploddy, speech-like hymning anthem: “‘The car is on fire. And there is no driver at the wheel. And the sewers are all muddied,
117

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

with a thousand lonely suicides. And a dark wind blows.’” He climbs slow, calculated, up and up and up. Each rung punctuates the end of a line. Lake and Bell both down their eyescream and rung-up, too. Atom and his voice mount the building – a blowhorn must have been waiting, because there’s one in his hand now, and his voice blares into the street, spewing like a volcano: “‘The government is corrupt and we are all so many drunks with the radio on and the curtains drawn. We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine. And the machine is bleeding to death. The sun has fallen down. And the billboards are all leering. And the flags are all dead at the top of their poles.’” Atom pauses; proceeding, in a louder holler: “‘It went like this: the buildings toppled in on themselves [mothers crutching babies] and picked through the rubble. And pulled out their hair. The skyline was beautiful on fire. All twisted metal stretching upwards. Everything awash in a thin orange haze. Kiss me you’re beautiful, these are truly the last days. You grabbed my hand and we fell into it, like a daydream. Or a fever.’” Atom puts aside the blow-horn, flopping down onto the comfy cloudography of blankets and pillows all thick, and thick, and spacious on the building’s lip. The girls do the same. The Mountain stiff in the far-distance; the sky’s been stenciled, its blue-black tagged in green-black spades, needles, and fractals. The buildings organism below. A collected community, they intercourse with the environment they now find themselves a part of; it’s impossible to tell where the buildings begin, or end, and where the plant-life takes over. Are the buildings becoming plants? “No, not really,” Atom says, alarming Bell, making her realize that she thought that out-loud. “They are becoming even more, they are becoming members of the ecosystem. They are no longer
118

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

sleeping like stones – they are stretching their tentacles along the alleys; their mouldy nails stay uncut, germinating like so many rich niches... “Those two buildings – used to be one.” Neither Lake’s eyes nor Bell’s move. “They must have had some issue with their roof... some holes, I suppose, and ever since, the two buildings have been moving farther and farther apart from each other.” They see the buildings’ debris all ascatter, like memories and other goods tossed-out and left-behind. “Don’t we all lose so much of ourselves when we break-up...” “But,” Lake says, pointing. “Uh-huh. The small structure between the two: the remnants of the shared interior wall... it cracked when the buildings separated, and we only leaned some riprap into the gist-shape of a room and –immediately after– the molds and plants took-over building. There’s some time-lapse footage of it somewhere. It was as if nature really knew what it was doing.” Atom’s feet flip up, his back shluffing deep into the burrowy-bedding. “It really does have a character all its own, despite occupying the space of its predecessors...” “What is... that one doing?” Lake asks. “We don’t know.” This time, both girls do look at Atom. “These buildings... they are beginning to re-construct themselves, to change; they are becoming capable of reacting and learning. It shouldn’t be so surprising: each building is a host for life; like ships, the buildings are captained. But, still: it is surprising...” “It is surprising, because –in comparison– today’s architecture is... dead.” “Right. That’s right. And since these buildings are capable of change, they are capable of succeeding today’s architecture; they can reinvent themselves. They can find solutions to problems we can’t –or won’t– address, and they can adapt to crises as they arise.” Lake unintelligibles something about AI, then says intelligibly: “Well I’ll be...”
119

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“But here,” his arm gestures about the park, “architects-aspeople must be sensitive and they must be passive; they must persuade, not dominate. There’s a really good talk, by an applied scientist and innovator named Rachel Armstrong130 , about ‘the cellular gardening of indigenous microorganisms for selected characteristics’. It makes me see buildings as recipes... and makes me think of bubble ecologies and... archemistry and garditecture.” “What characteristics could be selected for buildings? Aside –of course– bioluminescence.” “One example she gave was selecting microorganisms for regenerating artificial coral reefs. Another application is selecting for microorganisms which move away from light and deposit limestone; placed in Venice, these microorganisms could restore the sinking city’s foundations.” Space, and space and debris are redefining themselves and the sky is full of buildings, clouding like ideas do, into shapes that kids ought to dream. “I was reading something by Wolf Hilbertz the other day, about responsive and evolutionary architecture131–” “What a genius,” Lake stouts. “...and how the very thought that buildings are ‘complete’ when we have ‘finished’ building them, proves our nearsightedness, and the stubbornness of what we build to adapt to new situations.” A moon rides into the leaves and a lot of buildings do, too. A shorter, stouter structure stretches into the cedars, foundation tearing branchward; legs lifting, feet un-concreting. As the chins of buildings get stroked their eyes open, and they use their mouths; a conversation concerning contexts, spacial recognition, and historic-pebbles bounces from one protoplasmic complexion to another. The sun sets upon the City below; its last diamond of gold blares upon the horizon’s skin. And it disappears.
120

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Waiting for the perfect opportunity, dusk flexes, ready to dunk the city in its slow, grey puddle. But, what’s that? The dusk shrinks; the golden diamond returns, streaming its lines of sunlight back into the crumblings of the City. And then it resinks back into the horizon, stuttering, time-lapsing. Then it stops; the sun freezes. Then sinks again. Bell shakes her head. “Is the sun... real?” Bell asks, heed-hove on the ball of fire. “Sort of.” “Is the sky... a screen?” Lake asks, not sure if she wants to know. “Sort of.” His mouth sickles in smile. “Who knows what will happen...” The sun is an orange, a lemon, on fire, far too far away to decipher, to decode, to poke with a stick. Presumably, it sinks into the bruisy-blonde horizon every night, forced to accept its equatorial destiny – like they’ve been told. Bell says to the air, as much as to Atom: “How long can this last?” “Which?” “This.” “The Park?” “No... this.” “Ah. I wonder... Godspeed132,” Atom says. “Funny.” “You Black Emperor133,” he says. Standing up, Atom leans to a crowd of candelabras, and wakes them with one long match, then circles the rooftop; a great variety of glimms winking-on after him –candleposts, candliers; some single-flames, others dozen’d; some skinny sticks, some lit bushes– he flicks The RealiTea rooftop to a galaxy, their colors and pizzazz bend and skew. The great expanse of Fall Apart Park lays sprawling below... the colorful streetlights embellishing steps hurried and illumine those moseyed. Just below, Lake and Bell see a great circle. Atom sees their gaze and says: “Brainstorm134 and Powernap135; playing together.”
121

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

A separate crew of vagabonds and punks horn, drum, and fiddle their way down the boulevard. Their clacking cacophony blazing. Another group –further down Fundamental– chant, gong, and wolf. And, then, breaking above everything, forcing one fat wince into every face that heard it: Skrack-Rakk-KKLLUH!!! A terrific and vicious crash sounds from deep within The Park... another follows. And the last sound –says Atom– is the unmistakable one a building falling, of a skyscraper’s guts sinking-down, settling-in. The dust mushrooms the dusk, a spore-barrage spills, like infected froth, a slurricane. As the chalken-blood of the building falls in flakes and shrapnel, the music recovers, barely missing a beat; as if dying buildings are part of modern life, as if that’s that, as if there is no saner response than to turn up the party. Taking a big breath, Bell turns to Atom. “Atom? Why did you come here? In the first place?” Atom’s lips scrunch. His head tilts toward Bell, rolling on his arms, ladled on the rooftop’s rim. “That’s a very loaded question, you know. I guess you want some answers. You probably feel you deserve some answers. Hmmm... Well, there are a million ways I could answer that; I’ll give you one. But I’ll cheat, a little, of course; I’ll answer yours with another: are you happy; with where you live?” Bell makes a grimace. Her eyes squish as memories whip through her brain. “No,” she says. “No.” “Of course not,” Lake adds, “who could ever be happy with the way the world is these days? It’s a horrible mess. I mean, take your pick... the power-structure; education; housing; food; wars; pollution; etceteraetceteraetcetera. There are so many things wrong with this world, I hardly know where to start.” Lake huffs, her shoulders tense, hefting her heavy-ing head. “There are so many problems that we get used to most of them, and try to focus on just one or two – if we can find the time.”
122

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Right,” Atom says in response. “Right. That’s why I decided to start over.” Lake’s eyes widen in excitement. To start over! The exhilaration! A miracle! “There are soooooo many dying cities in the world today; straight byproducts of the industrial age. And their failure, is our opportunity. Period.” “I’m done,” Lake say committedly. “I don’t want to take their shit anymore! What do you think, Bell? We should start our own city too, huh!?” “But, careful: it’s a delicate thing, swarming a dead-city with some friends. I mean, yeah, for sure you should do it, it’s the most logical thing to do; but, be careful of Context.” “Context?” “Yeah. Context is everything.” The Park sounds. It sounds on and on, as mischief is invented, plans are construed, and livesets live. The City flashes, like so many grenades in the night, like so many frontiers reclaimed. It sounds and looks as if the world’s citizens were just itching to leave the old world, and arrive. “In their eyes: when we came here, there was nothing.” Atom harumphs a huff. “To them, the economy is the only thing that matters, it’s the only ruler to gauge success, livability, happiness, and well-being. You know – that’s wrong. Because property values went through the floor here, because the population evacuated, because the businesses left – this city failed. What idiocy. Look at these buildings. Look at these people. We hardly invested a dime into this place.” “It’s a shift in perspective; vitality is a frame-of-mind. And now, because people care, because people want, this city thrives. Because people have made it interesting,” Lake says, finally feeling as if she understands what’s going on, and how the world should work. “Value and worth, like everything else, are subjective opinions.” “Exactly. All the world needs –all that these shrinking cities, failing economies, and dying downtowns need– is creativity. They need change, and fresh air. But, ironically, those in power fear
123

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

change – to them, change is alien, and constitutes death. They don’t get it: it’s the way the world works: on change. So,” Atom says in a tone that suggests his mind’s backtracking, “we’ve ignited change, and this city booms again. And now, big surprise: there are all these hotels, all these shops, all this old-model moneymakers surrounding the Park, still masturbating over the same tired equation of capitalism: profit first. You must have seen it when you arrived. Near the gates. All those businesses.” His face colds. “Money. Money, money, money. Flies and shit, tell you what.” And then, Atom laughs a lavatic laugh. Bell and Lake wonder: at what? “They’ll get it. It’ll happen.” He looks at the girls. “Don’t worry. It’ll all work out.” “Yeah. I’m sure it will,” they think they think. On bellies, elbowed-up on the rooftop’s rim: Lake and Bell look at the largest, most outrageous thing in The Park: The Lith.

124

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

TWENTYEI G H T
Just about to ask, Atom answers them speechless: “Pretty crazy looking, huh?” There’s something enchanting about candlelight. It makes everything softer, more delicate, more delicious, more fantastic. As expected, it beautifies Lake’s nod. “Yeah, what a wild... hey,” her voice dies. “It’s leaning!?” The angle must’ve belied the lean, Lake figures. “Yup, sure is. No doubt, it woulda fell a long time ago; if we didn’t sever it.” “Sever it?” Bell asks, pruning her face. A cloudly flock of birds billows from The Lith’s rooftop like a blown dandelion. “Uh-huh. Rather than have the whole thing tumble to a disaster, we decided to sever the top-half to save the bottom-half. Which is outstandingly rare. Everywhere, buildings are being demolished; rather than modify the structure or its purpose, the buildings are being destroyed. Such ignorance. How these people fail to see the energy trapped within the buildings, how they fail to see all this creative, adaptive potential, I have no idea.” “Theres something I keep wondering: the government – and the police– they just let you... remake this city?” jags Bell. Atom rolls his tongue around his mouth, scratching his molars: “Maybe there are too many things happening in the world today maybe it’s impossible to keep up maybe our attention spans are shrinking from information oversaturation maybe we are reaching our limit of how much we can pay attention to... there are a lot of maybes.” “Yeah,” Bell says. “Like that Indian136 who claimed to not have eaten or drunk a thing in... what was it... sixty-some years. He was brought into a hospital and monitored for fifteen days. They even measured the amount of spit he used when he was brushing his teeth; to make sure he wasn’t drinking the water. After the fifteen days, he was released. Supposedly, he returned to his village.
125

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

And that –somehow– was that. And I’ve told people about this. They don’t know what to say. They don’t really say anything. Perhaps: what could anyone say?” “Which always makes me wonder: what can we get away with?” Atom says. “Right! Just like Damanhur137! It’s an underground temple complex for Christ’s sake, with false staircases! Temples of Mankind! The place is practically comparable to the pyramids in Giza, or Angkor Wat138. Why isn’t this a big deal?” Lake’s tone mellows, sags, drops. “It’s like everything has been reduced to just another link on the screen139.” “And so,” Lake says, backtracking to the building before them. “How many stories does The Lith have now?” “Seventy-three.” “Is every floor open?” “No.” “How many are?” “To the general public: a dozen. To us: more.” “...” “Wanna go?”

126

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

T WENTYNI N E
“First I need to pop into The Tea House.” Atom says it almost like a question. Kindly, as if asking for permission. But, as well, it sounds like an invitation. “Sure. We’d love to see the inside!” So Atom gets up; walks around the echinacea, the saladburnet, and pulls a sungold cherry tomato. It’s huge, laughably huge and bright, bright orange, even in twilight. Probably, especially in twilight. He pops it in his mouth, summer puddling behind his lips, shining sunlight. He picks a few more, handing them to the girls, and they wrap them with fresh basil leaves. Robusted, Atom collects some bee-balm, some chamomile, and a sprig of lavender. Hugged in his hand, their aroma billows their faces. While mashing it along his teeth, he says something about primitive toothcare. “Yeah! Primitive toothcare!” Bell whoops. “That’s what I was talking about earlier, Lake! How people used to take care of their teeth and gums without toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and dentists.” “Teeth are meant to last a lifetime.” Atom says, pulling the zine from his pocket. “Yep, that’s right. Your teeth –the crushing, grinding, pulverizing, shredding tools cemented to your skull– are meant to last until you die. It should come as no surprise that, like all animals, our teeth are resilient tools.” Bristly scrapes and scruffs sound between his words. “Look at every feral animal left in the wilderness and ask: how many non-human animals consistently have tooth decay? Excluding domesticated animals (whose diets are largely carbohydrates and refined sugar), the only animal who regularly suffers from cavities is the honey bear, who eats ample amounts of refined sugar.” He picks a spray of mugwort, puts it in his teeth... the bitterness delicious. The three high-five.
127

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Then, lifting an obscure hatch in the rooftop, he zips down the fireman’s pole. The two girls slide along after him. Wicker baskets of herbs and flowers flex the small room even tighter; a hundred shattered rainbows of leaves and petals stock the storeroom. The thick fragrance fogs them in haze and riches. They bathe in the smell, showering clean. One more inhalation, deeply... a floorless purple pets the very back of Lake’s closed eyes. A warmth, a kind of warm gold glow gets into her nostrils, her throat... Atom gives the door a push, motioning for the girls to shut it behind them. He walks the short, lantern-lit hall, to another door and leans into it... the kitchen is pure. Hot and mellow. On the dwarfic pot-bellied stove, a giant kettle is busy building a whistle. Atom fills a ceramic teapot with the simmery water and sets the herbs to steep in its heat – then pushes through the final door.

128

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

THIRTY
The tea-house is packed. Glass tinks, chairs rake wood, the air is full of muffled mouthings, rising as one staticky voice, falling softer as one, too. On the wall, candling lamps globe an orange-warm-blush. Four on this wall, a clutch across the room, a triangle at the door, and a stack over the counter. And a lone stick flicks the top of each table. The flameful-halo lungs; a pendulum. The simple breathing of the room moving it so. The walls... so dark... are purple? Yes, deep purple, and its depth –fleeced soft by the lamps– embraces and envelopes. A few rosey-pink panels dent the darkness like light-bolts. The floor is dark blue below, a grey panel sometimes breaking. Above, a grey stripes the blue. It’s dark, confidable, and hungry for conversation; for discussions, for brooding; for laying-out plans, for evolving tactics. For scheming. For figuring things out. For whispering on tea, for concocting over decoctions. Atom heads to a table in a corner, back to the walls, able to see and hear most of the café... Three chairs scrape back; the two girls tuck themselves in. They see a Thrilling Wonder Stories140 poster on the wall above their table. It reads a date some weeks from now. Silent themselves, they hear the din thick; voices resonating like spoken inside a cave. The TeaHouse is thumping, thrumming, beating. The TeaHouse is speaking: Two tables are in front of Bell. From them she hears two distinct voices rise above the staticking tumult. At one table, a man sits alone and appears to be arguing with himself: “Gotta stay awake!” His form ratchets straight; and, slouch. His head slumps to his arm, so sweepingly spilt upon the table.
129

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

And at the other table, Bell sees a woman pounding the table: “So what if I am raging?!” the woman says, her table wincing. Her breath nearing a snarl, is that snot stringing from her nostrils? “We already have an attorney!” he cries. “I gotta stay awake. I gotta make this. I...” he trails-off, seeming to fall asleep again, alone at the table. “... so many people starving and...” “I just gotta...” “... why aren't we doing more? Why aren’t we doing enough?” “I gotta finish this... Is that even a real word? What am I supposed to do?” Then their voices mix, and Bell is left unable to differentiate: “...when is it when the content is dangerous done when it’s confrontational when will I let it go when it’s threatening when it’s enough when it lets me go challenges enough when it’s our reality done with me you know what happens when can I ass-u-me I can sleep when I die...” Lake’s angle gives her three other tables: “I dunno... what’s your favorite?” “It’s a fucking big deal!” “After all!” His eyes widen, for effect; the affect is a circle of smiles. “I always wanted to start a story with ‘after all.’ I think it’s so funny!” The smile he makes with the words causes the table to laugh. “I tell myself nothing can bother me.” “Because it assumes so much; but nothing’s been said.” “We...” the voice drifts,“...so many people left raped by...” “Better hope the reader cares enough to give a damn.” The word ‘reader’ drawl-crawls out his mouth; the vowels long and gloppy. A tremendous wrack at the other table – the far table:
130

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“F!” and his mug claps to the earthen floor; not –seemingly– breaking. He looks at it: “God damn...” He Picks it up. “God. Damn.” “... globalization, bureaucracy...” “We–” “I suppose so.” “That’s good.” “We–” “How should I live my life?” Atom –touching the teapot: it’s warm/very nearly very hot/ perfect; splashing the three mugs full, the tea lax and limber, florals their heads, lei-ing into them– recognizes a chair he made. A rocking chair. It’s rocking; in slow, smooth rhythm’d agreement to its head, shawl’d in thick clouds. A flask appears; it gets hit once; and once more. Vapor in the cloudhead. A pipe smolders and glows upon its arm. That whole table drinks at once. “It was interesting.” Biting his bottom lip, then, taking a sip, looking into the disappearing liquid, the cloud-head on Atom’s rocking chair says: “Then I realized,” “What are we going to do about–” Atom hears a separate table say. “it needed–” “the destruction of the planet?” “a–” “why aren’t our lives–” “greater–” “more fulfilling? Why...” “setting, some background.” “...taken such (dis)advantages...” “So I began another. And that needed background. I started again.”
131

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“And! Why are so many people still wearing those cursed shit-goggles?!” The cloudhead –seeing Atom looking, probably listening– smiles. He removes a tin from his vest pocket; fills the pipe with a pinch and gives it light. Puff, puff. Masterful smoke-rings ‘O’ the air. “But what’s more...” He drains the last, finds his flask from his slacks, and repairs the empty glass. “I don’t know...” Smiling again at Atom –still staring– his ‘O’s hanging like a mobile of doughnuts; he lofts a biscuit at him. Atom actually has to move out of the way of the circular loaf; it smashes into the side of Bell’s face with a poof. But sounding like a bomb; because: The door explodes! Crashing against the wall. The collective voice of the The RealiTea House wilts; then: blooms back to where it was. Atom, Lake, and Bell watch the newcomer: a fellow in a red jumper; laboring to a table, plopping leaden feet: “I’m so... sorry! I got... super... lost...” The red shed to the chair-back; the fellow flops down. The person at the table shifts. “Don’t worry about it Rue. I’m just glad you made it.” “Yeah... but somehow, I lost all sense of direction. The surreality of this place is really disorienting. It’s creepy.” “I know. Yeah, I know.” As if telepathically linked, Bell, Lake, and Atom all look to the only round table at the very same moment. A tree –“A juniper,” Atom tells them– grows up and through a hole cut in its tabletop... its branches garland, adorned in candles; dusting the table in gold: “Look what I found today...” “Where?” “Actually, I found it inside a toilet paper roll; I was... um, using the toilet, and reached over for a couple squares, and it tumbled out.” The thing turns over in her hand, reading on one side:
132

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Our New Centers The Gorilla Advert Project Welcome to the New Frontier; 71 of 73

“Hermmm... New Frontier, huh?” “What does that mean?” The lost look on the recipient’s face makes it obvious; no idea. Bell looks at Atom: he looks like he’s thinking something. And he is thinking: ‘always thinking something,’ he silently thinks. Then, the round table speaks again: “Hey! I found one of those, too! It was between my ice cream cone and the paper wrapper; I came as close to eating it as I did to dropping it. Mine says:
The addiction to cars is a structural addiction that is built into the physical structure of the city; 70 of 73

“...an addiction that’s structural?” “Oh! That’s what that was! I think I put it into my pocket... yeah, here... I didn’t know what to make of it, so I just stuffed it in there,” it slaps down onto the table:
The City, town, or village organizes our resources and technologies and shapes our forms of expressions; 68 of 73

“Ha! I found this in my newspaper the other day!!!” another from the table says.
People will open their bag of chips, their cigarette box, reach for the price tag on a jacket hung on some rack in some clothing store, scoop into popcorn at the theatre, unfold their morning paper, and find a startling piece141 of news: information142 about peak oil or the car/freeway/oil complex, environmental collapse or fringe innovations in architectural design; 34 of 73

133

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Crazy,” one of them says, reaching for the menu. He grips it, opens it, and a little card falls out. He picks it up.
There are millions of interesting speculative ideas out there, with people reimagining what their cities could be, but the problem is precisely that no one is building them; 20 of 73

“Interesting, that... how many are there? Seventy-three?” “Hmmm...”

T HIRTYo n e
Bell’s voice brings all their attention to their own table: “Atom? What about The Compote... That black and white souvenir shop?” Atom looks at her. Wondering what, exactly, it is that she wants to know about it. His look says, ‘Yes, and?’ “The rows and rows of shapes –the boxes, balls, and bottles– they’re just containers? Are they all empty?” Atom sets his tea down, smacking his lips, the candlelight glinting his eyes. “When we first arrived there were a lot of junk materials just lying around. Pretty typical really. It’s in the nature of an industrial society to generate a lot waste materials. But. Here’s the real situation: these materials can only be considered as ‘waste’ if they have no use. And, it’s the definition of ‘waste’ that causes them to be useless. We have to reconsider the way we think about, interact with, and relate to the things we make. Thinking of them as having potential purposes –which just need to be imagined and set into motion– as materials with input-value allows them to feed other systems.
134

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“One of the most obvious examples is dumpster-diving. Grocery stores and bakeries almost always stock more bread than they can sell. And if they aren’t sold by the expiration date on packaged bread (which is often totally irrelevant (but that’s another conversation)) or the bread just gets stale (which is also irrelevant, as it still contains nutritional value) they throw them out. Currently, cities generate more than they consume; but it doesn’t have to be this way. So yeah, the empty containers –the boxes, bottles, and cans– were re-appropriated and given new lives as souvenirs. “And it’s not just bread. Or just anything with an expiration date. It’s computer equipment, camping gear, and chocolate: we found a car-full of wrapped and sealed chocolate bars with ‘too much mint’–” “We found so much chocolate one Christmas Eve that we made chocolate fondue,” Lake says, butting-in with excitement. “We dipped cake, oranges, figs, bananas, cookies, and more pieces of chocolate!” “A friend of mine once found seven perfectly good wedding dresses in the trash!” Bell says. Atom looks excited: not surprised, but amazed. “Wow. Wedding dresses... We really throw away –we really abuse– a lot of stuff. It’s an intrinsic condition to an industrial society. It’s just that we create so much; we make, fabricate, build, generate, and do so much. There are always off-cuts, extra pieces, always mistakes, always byproducts. And usually these byproducts do not benefit with the original design; at least not with intention or glaring obviousness.” “Ah.” Lake perkilates. “It’s just like permaculture; it’s the same thing. We need to observe one factory, one industry, one store and ask ourselves: what byproducts are being generated here? Then make a list. Then do that for every factory, every industry, every store.”
135

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Their individual voices becoming one, they all stop paying attention to who is saying what: every idea out a mouth, is a diving board for another: “Like sawdust from a cabinet shop – insulation for a house, or stuffing for a dog bed, or the ground layer for a playground, or fire-starter, or mycelium-substrate. We need to be having design competitions to encourage creativity; especially in schools, kindergarten... Like egg shells from a bakery – calcium for a garden. Like used automobile tires – rubber dust for the soles of shoes. Like styrofoam for beanbag chairs. Like cans and bottles and tires for a house. What could we do with steam from boilers? With cracked cargo containers? With slightly damaged pallets? What could we do with torn down buildings? Art is only intention. And interpretation. Ah, once I saw playground teeter-totters pumping water143. Collecting spent energy and recycling it; translating kinetic kid energy into electricity. “I saw a design for a floor144... it has springs or something in the ground and when people walk on it, it absorbs the energy in their steps. It said that in a busy train station, there is enough energy generated –simply by walking– to power the lights of the place. Not really sure how much energy would go into making the floor... But that’s not really the point. The point is, we need to reconsider what energy is, how energy moves, and what it can do. The world is a system of cycles, and, in a way, it’s only a system of cycles. Our success depends on our relationship to and with these cycles. “What’s more: most inputs can be found as a byproduct first. Rather than having to imagine a new-purpose for a foundmaterial, we can just connect the dots and introduce the makers of the byproduct to those who can use it for something else. My friends and I had this idea to make a directory: listing businesses and what they require as inputs and what they generate as outputs. That way, when someone needs something, they can find it. It works for someone who wants to renovate her house, and it also works between businesses. Recycling isn’t just about turning-in
136

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

plastic, glass, and paper anymore. It’s about turning energy around; seeing the broader picture; system interaction.” The door opens again; and this time it’s Bur who walks through; flinging a seat to AtomBellLake’s table, shluffing into it and throwing a card on the table like its an invitation, an innovation, an invocation, a vocation:
What do janitors or security guards or novelists or even housewives ‒let alone prison guards or elevator-repair personnel‒ think about the buildings around them? What do suburban teenagers think about contemporary home design, when their own bedrooms are right next door to their parents; or what do teenagers think about urban planning when they have to drive an hour each way to get to school? These sorts of apparently trivial experiences of the built environment are often far more important to hear about; 19 of 73

“Found this for you,” Bell says, laying down another card:
1927-1955: General Motors, Mack Manufacturing (trucks), Standard Oil of California (now Exxon), Phillips Petroleum, Firestone Fire and Rubber, and Greyhound Lines ‒in violation of anti-trust law‒ shared information, investment money, and management activities for the purpose of maximizing profits and eliminating ground competition in the United States; the net effect was to destroy urban rail transportation in over 100 cities. To do this the conspirators set-up several front companies in which they invested their money. These companies bought up and then tore up the streetcar lines of a gigantic nation, leaving citizens stuck with no transportation alternative of note other than cars and buses; 59 of 73

“Wow. That’s a trip,” Bur says, reading the card again. “Yeah, a trip. What a bunch of scumbags,” Lake says, pouring the last of the tea.
137

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Bell nods. “But, read the next one,” Bell says, producing another.
Finally in 1955: The conspirators were taken to court by federal prosecutors, charged with violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act; each company was charged $5,000.00 plus court costs of $4,220.87 and each individual was ordered to pay $1.00 for his/her role; 60 of 73

Bur sighs big. “That’s disturbing. Thanks for the cards; never saw one with two parts. Well, ready to go?” In the better-than-thebus light of The RealiTea House, Lake sees Bur’s tattoo is a hot air balloon without a basket. Instead of a basket it’s just a platform that the rider stands on; like a whale rider... leaning back for stability, like the balloon is a kind of new animal.

T HIRTYTW O
When they step out of The RealiTea House, they step into The City, onto Fundamental Boulevard; into the sun. Again, the sun. “Well. Guess it shouldn’t surprise me,” Bur says. “There were green clouds earlier.” Z looks at Lake, Bell, and, finally, at Atom. “Green. For real. Slime green. Toxy green. Bad green.” They all look at Atom. “What? I didn’t design this place; well, not all by myself. Anyway, it wasn’t my idea,” he says, with chuckles in his cheeks. The street changes; there are less upright buildings: one-intwelve, one-in-twenty now stand. There is more rubble on the ground, but there is also a noticeable increase in plant-life. Flowers blanket the ground and mushrooms thrust from decaying wood, their mycelium whiting much of the buildings’ dead bodies.
138

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Some mushrooms hang from the dampest walls, and a grip line the foundations. Their gills unveil, fluting. One massive building stands strong amongst the increasingly soft structures. Atom stops. “That one, with the steps leading up to it... That’s The Crinkledagger Bittergourd. It used to be a bank. Now it’s a theatre, and a brewery. Bittergourd’s quite the brewer; he’s drunk beer – studying, of course– all over the world. I think... I met him in Bratislava? Yeah, Bratislava. I told him about the City, and our ideas to appropriate and re-wild it. Wow, was he excited; what a setting to invent beers! It’s the perfect place for his recipes. The guy makes the most bizarrely delicious beers I’ve ever seen. And, he shows great slideshows and films – Prohibition stuff, Dual 145 , Life is Beautiful146 , Human Planet147, and all kinds of Survival stuff. Plus, he loves pingpong! A really great dude.” Aside the crumblesome pillars and vaults, looking up past the steps and into the building, Lake asks: “What’s that?” All they can see is a series of photos. “A photo-essay; it’s pretty neat.” The four walk up the unnecessarily wide steps. “Why are banks so big?” Bur asks, zher face in the steps. “Always so big,” Bur yacks the word. “Look at these steps...” zhis head swings left, then right, nodding a no. “So damn imposing. No good.” “Yeah, but look at it now,” Bell says, the first to step through the threshold; her jaw dropping, as her head tilts back, as she sees the ceiling. “Its grandiosity serves art far finer than it serves money. Look at that ceiling canvas...” They hear Lake’s voice peak above the din: “The photographs display a technique some people think Antonio Gaudí148 used... that some of his arches were made by dropping chain –letting it make its own U-shape– letting the length fall to its natural equilibrium: a kind of perfect arch. Then
139

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

he would use mirrors and recreate that shape right-side-up. Pretty cool photos...” “And that. What’s that?” Bell says, walking towards another series of photos. Nearing, the four see the title spread above: TREES 149. “Goodness...” Bell says, her face pressed against a painting of Prometheus150 . “Drum sticks...? Hey, look at this!” All their faces press. “After Prometheus was cut down, and lay as a corpse in the lab, someone called Stuntman broke-in, and liberated Prometheus’s greatest limb. So the story goes, Stuntman’s baby-brother absolutely adored Prometheus; his entire room was covered in drawings and sketches and odes to the ancient creature. Of course, his brother was mortified and crushed. So Stuntman sculpted the world’s most notorious drumsticks.” “Then what?!” Bur screams. Echos lap the lobby. “That’s it.” Bell huffs. “That’s all it says.” “Baux and Bows!” Bur howls, stomping-off. “Hey! It’s Captain Bittergourd himself!” Atom hollers, angling towards the staircase gianting in the far corner. The girls share a shrug, and begin to call for Bur, who’s standing some meters away, before a spacious hallway. But before they can, Bur says abaffle, “Outside?” Lake and Bell step to Bur’s side and lean in towards the corridor. The hallway does lead to a room; but the room is a skeleton. The walls have all been dismantled and only the main-beams remain. The light floods in, talking the bank towards a Roman ruin. Vines and climbers rebuild the walls; and where its possible windows are cut-in, lintels are set and sills are settled right into the leafy vinery. And portraits hang. The bases of fallen columns become tables, and chairs are stacked of debris and other forms of clever chunkery. Other columns are reconstructed to strawberry-towers; thickly leafed and in blossom, the swollen berries ripen soft and turn red. Strange and fun drawings speckle the rafters and canvases above.
140

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“This must be the pub,” Bell says eyeing the frosty glasses that ring the tables. “Look at the head on that!” she says, ogling a fresh pint that’s passing by. “What a color,” Lake says, slurping her drool. “Oh. My.” Bell’s mouth flops. “Look at that... menu.” Her hand shakes at a blackboard, ceremoniously decorated, with the longest, yes, most bizarre beer list any of them had ever seen: ~CRINKLEDAGGER BITTERGOURD~ The Bittergourd Brewser Hi-PA valerian & limestone IPA oregano & cashew lambic151 cacao & acai – [unfiltered & locally fermented] chai & cedar sprig stout butteryolkcream stout holly & grass & mud porter star anise & morel bitter brown paprika & parsley bitter pistachio & lavender white snowflake, cloud, & moss kristallweizen jackfruit-sage house-wine wormwood & eyeball plant152 liqueur grasshopper crackers horseradished olives “Look at that,” Lake says just above the rim of her pint. A video projects a Productive Dystopia 153 on a piece of bambooframed fabric. “What a fascinating idea...” she says. “Awfully familiar,” Bell says, looking around. “Hey, another card,” Bell says, pointing to the scrawl on the ceiling:
It s as if these buildings, malls, empty plazas, and parking lots do, in fact, inspire a new type of humanity, but
141

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

J.G. Ballard shows that what they are bringing into existence is something altogether darker and unexpected. In other words, our contemporary built landscape has not ushered in the enlightened utopia. Instead there is a slow-burning psychopathy here, a dementia inspired by space itself. Architecture becomes a vast, poorly supervised experiment in which new species of human personality are incubated; 58 of 73

“I’m really starting to like these cards,” Lake says, recording it on paper for Bur. “There you are.” It’s Atom. “Come check this out,” he says, turning around and walking out. Bur, Lake, and Bell follow – all full-pint-handed. He leads them back to the staircase, which verandas-out to a spacious overlook above the lobby. “No, no, no! Absolutely not. The snowflake is all unsymmetricized! The cloud is all... cloudy!” But his cuffings stop. He sips again from the pint-glass. “Oh my... the moss. The moss is very good, yes, very good. More moss, triple and triple again. This one’ll be mosstery.” He stops, his eyes drifting beyond the building’s ceiling. He leans back-in so quickly, his bearskin nearly falls from his shoulders. His walking stick bowing to a ‘C’ under his weight, he says quietly, “Ask Geo for some of his new, purple moss. Tell him we’d like to try some of it.” “Bittergourd,” Atom says, launching the man in surprise so much, his staff snaps, and he drops towards the floor for a crash – but he doesn’t hit the floor! He’s still standing, still leaning so heavily upon his staff. Lake and Bell and Bur hush screams. Bittergourd cackles in laughter. “Ha! Never saw a biotic-staff before?! Me and this friend of mine go way back...” he says, lifting it up, above their heads, the light catching its grooves. “Oh yes we do. And so, Atom, these must be the friends you mentioned.” Bell and Bur give hearty smiles. Lake shakes the puzzle from her face, then smiles, too. Bittergourd’s eyes shine at their pints.
142

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Old enough to drink: only here! Why, all said, ditching the regulations and laws may be the finest blessing of this City. Such sly devastations they inflict; it’s as if by simply forbidding a thing, and demonizing it, then all kinds of problems arise: blackmarkets, addictions, diseases, oh my. Make’s one wonder if the diagnosis doesn’t create the ailment.” “Indeed: it’s not illegal until a law prohibits it. But, certainly you’re not suggesting that blackmarkets are bad,” Atom says, nabbing a passing pint from its server. “In many eyes, blackmarkets are the informal economy; the burgeoning, uncontrolled and unregulated people’s economy: bartering, for example.” “Hmmm... perhaps, dude.” Bittergourd’s silver-hair stretches in a light breeze, rich in barley. “Except the regulated economy constantly suppresses and overbears the informal economy. Existing from nook-to-cranny, blackmarkets are at an extreme disadvantage. Bartering should be the rule, not the exception. But, how are the drinks, ye whippersnappers?” “Oh. Yes. Fantastic,” Lake says, truthfully. “The best I’ve ever had,” Bell adds. “Incredible,” Bur says bluntly. “You know what, I’d really like to work here.” Lake and Bell share a gasp, but Bittergourd responds immediately. “Sure,” Bittergourd says. “Come in tomorrow. I’ve got a million things to tell you before I leave.” He takes a hop-nugget from his jacket-pocket, coaxing a sweet-smelling cloud of its lupulin. “Leave?” Bur quivers, cross-eyeing the beer menu. “Of course. I hike a lot. A lot, a lot. I’m an explorer too, you know.” He winks. “I gotta go. Enjoy the Park, eh.” They watch Bittergourd’s fur sway, his staff clacking away. “You were right,” Bur says, head-scratching, “that was easy.” “There’s something else I wanna show you guys here,” Atom says, once again walking to the staircase. They exit The Crinkledagger Bittergourd through the same massive entrance. This time though, instead of descending the
143

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

humungous stairs, they curve around the building. A painting upon the building’s side boom to them: ~CURRENT CAVEATS~ ‘Money As Debt’154 in an ‘Age of Stupid’155 ‘Growing Awareness’156 is an ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma’157 Jon Jandai158 says it is ‘Time For Change’159 ‘Me and You and Everyone We Know’160 in a ‘Metropolis’161 ‘RIP: A Remix Manifesto’162 “This is The Crinkledagger Bittergourd Theatre,” Atom says into the rising sounds of music. Walking around, they see upon the side of the building: Growing Awareness projecting a hook for Project Grow163, and the live-music accompaniment of ‘The Jeffrey Jerusalem164 & SAFE165 Combo’ rocks up. The deep crowd is sitting on rows and rows of hay-bales; amphitheaterstyle. The pyramids pinnacling into the pinking sky. Smoke curls the air and clouds above truthfully. Learn about food; so many voices seem to say it at once. The four spread a nod, ready to go. They turn, and leave. Walking further, deeper into Fall Apart Park... The Lith: always The Lith, not seeming to get any closer, just taller. The more buildings are burying; sidewalks splinter and break-up; the central road bits like gravel. Seedlings and saplings stretch and flex. Growth always finds its way, especially in the sharpest cracks.

144

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

T HI RTYTHR E E
“So, here’s The Patch; just on the other side of this,” Atom says. “This is a... sculpture?” Bell fishes. “Can we sit on that?” she asks, curious if the chairs are still chairs. “What is a chair, anyway? How bizarre; I’ve never considered what a chair is...” “Yeah, looking at all these chairs, that are just barely chairs, makes me wonder: how much can a chair lose, before it isn’t a chair anymore,” Lake wonders, her eyes darting, now seeing the buildings’ transformations amplified. Are these buildings, even buildings anymore... Chairs –garage stools, park benches, weight benches, a spanking bench, dining chairs, picnic tables, collapsed chairs, theatre seats, scenic seats, car seats– of wicker, metal, wood, plastic, and other frames; hammocks yawn from crag to crag, from leg to leg. Atom looks at Bell, Bell looks at Lake, Lake looks at Bur, and Bur looks at the pile. Their seats weirding in their angles; haphazardousing talus. They all approach the stackpile at once. Lake hands along welded metal, along bound legs, along lashed backs. They mountup... To the top; a kind of plateau, overlooking The Patch. “Whoah.” Below them: a great green blanket ripples seafully, waving windrous. The Patch seems like a green carpet; The Lith in the middle of it, like a needle punching canvas – but a needle strapped with so many strings... “Every time I look at it, it looks different...” “What is all that?” A cacophony of stilts, like rootybuttresses, support and prop The Lith... “Looks like lines anchoring an airship,” Bell thinks out-loud. “Looks like a giant tree pulled out of the ground and set back down, so that the whole thing stands on its roots. How strange...”
145

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Like a grasshopper or a mantis standing up on a hundred legs, hitched in extra bones,” Lake says to the giant concrete that’s there, insecting. “Looks sketchy; more a framework, more a stencil than a skyscraper.” Bur blinks weight. “Uh-huh. We have planted hundreds of Banyan trees–” “The same kind at Ta Prohm – in Angkor Wat?” Bell asks. “Yeah, the same. When the building finally falls, the Banyans will still stand, outlining, and in a way preserving The Lith,” Atom tells them. “We will even be able to weave other plants through the limbs. In fact, the skyscraper could fall now, and the Banyans would keep The Lith alive in afterlife.” He hides his grin by playing with his mustache. “What a fascinating way for a building, and some trees, to evolve...” Lake says, jaw so slack. From the chair mountain, they can see into a lot of the skyscraper: gobs of green guts. Birds enter and depart. Flocks of them. Like data into a system, rain into a lagoon. “Oh: the Patch is a square. A huge square.” As Bell says it, their eyes follow her words, tracing the square, all the way around the fringe of The Patch... All the way around the fringe of The Patch – streetlights string inches apart on wire, framing the square, boxing the ring, flashing something by the bulb-full: purple, orange, white, blue... All the way around the fringe of The Patch – people like beetles out a puddle of absinthe... All the way around the fringe of The Patch – heads like balloons air-er-err on, wishing towards reorientation... All the way around the fringe of The Patch – people bumpercar; they’re trying to move right; but they only just bumpercar. “What a mess,” Lake says, “Look at all those people. They look really confused.”
146

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“They probably are really confused,” Atom replies. “They’re facing some of the world’s problems – many of which have been long hidden from view.” Having walked the outline of The Patch, their eyes end-up looking straight down, at the base of their bizarre chair mountain... “The chairs there seem like scree on a cliff rim: like they could just fall off, right into that green,” Lake says. The greenergy growing. “The Patch looks like it’s eating the chairs; viraling them, virusing them, giving them the green infection. Aghck!” They all look at Bur. “Bug flew in my eye.” Just there, where The Patch just might be eating the chairs, is something it didn’t eat; but spat out: three regurgitated explorers expose from The Patch like a bleb glopped out a bandage. Bell recognizes them from the bus – the straight-edger, the hippie, and the girl. At the base of the chair mountain, they’re practically yelling: “Can you believe that?!” He wipes his beady brow; only smearing his oily worries. The speaker’s companions keep ghostfaces; their silence saying more of the situation than words could suggest... Then, again the leftmost lets out: “Jesus.” Subsequently: “I don’t believe it... How did they ever... pull that off?” The emphasis on all the ital’d words is equal; in fact, he has been italicizing every word. At that, he peels-off from the group, sighing into a pew tightly tucked into the sole of the chair mountain... He reaches into a shirt pocket, and gives the words on it voice:
Peak oil informs everything. People ought to know about that, but they don t... we depend on it for everything; 26 of 73

“...do we also, then, depend on it to know about peak oil informing everything...?” He tries to, but he doesn’t say this outloud;
147

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

sounding instead like he’s gumming a mouthful of garbage; and blubber-balling, no less, like onions-for-eyes. His head collapses into his hands... he drags his eyes to the sky, quipping:
The debate is about whether we will have anything remotely as convenient and powerful in place to continue propping our gigantic human population and enormous levels of consumption when the supply of oil begins sliding off; 25 of 73

“Oh... God... Oh no...” Atom sees the clouds in the sky, spelling-out the omen for the guy. He points, and Bell and Lake and Bur look up, disbelieving yet accepting the sky’s literacy. The other two who were walking with the broken guy, halfnotice their friend’s absence, then half-stop; then stop; then retrace the few steps, climb over a kind of ladder with a rigged backrest, to plunk down into the pew, too. The three manage to share the single bench, despite its obtusity. Shoulder to elbow to knee; a second passes. A second second. A third and forth second. Then... “I mean...” Eyebrows draw an exhale. “... I knew it was a... social-commentary... or whatever... environmental degradation... economic collapse... the meltdown; but, shit... I didn’t know it would be so brutal – I mean, was that even necessary?” The fellow to his left –arm slung about the back of the bench: head slooped to the grittley ground, all pebbly, scattered babblesome by so many shoes– opens his mouth: “..., ...” He shuts it. Opens it again: “Mmmm...” Thinking, thinking-off yet again... lost for words, head still ashroud. “Hmmm.” The girl on the right finishes for the cat-tongued.

148

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

With something between broken and slurred speech, he aims again. “Well, well... well?” He huffs. “The reality is... well the reality is worse than I could ever have imagined.” Atom just lets his companions stare at the scene, observe these three attempt to come to some sort of terms with themselves, to come to terms with living in this world. “Could all of the world’s fish species really be exterminated?” “I don’t want the fish to go away,” He sounds like a baby. Obviously: nobody wants the fish to disappear. Do we? “The problem is... paradigmatic, a cultural epoch,” the girl says, apparently having found her mind. “It’s galactic, it’s our ethos. It’s about risk/impact assessment; it’s about acceptable risk, cost/benefit analysis. It’s about the cost of progress. It’s about accountability. Liability. The problem is about responsibility. It’s time to grow-up. It’s time to clean up after ourselves; before our messes clean us out.” “... I, uh... I don’t really know... what you just said...” Atom laughs out-loud at this, and Bur smirks a face. By now the middle of the three is leaning way back, out of crossfire, eyeing the cottonous sky –whose message has wisped– momentarily calmed by the relatively cleanish, powder-grey... Only to be thrashed back by his own whip-lash: “This place is fucked!” The cathartic expulsion wracks the the man with shivers; fevering him. A tiny pause passes, heavy as a hippo, and in it, Lake and Bell quease, The City sicking them in wooz. Bell and Lake look at each other. Eyes gasping wide, looks of shock splattered all over them both.
149

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

The girl counters: “Yeah. It’s a reality. It happens all the time, all over the world; it’s happening right now even.” All three sink with that, lead-bellied. “We just got closer to it today than we usually do. At home.” “Or at work,” the middle adds, seemingly having found a bit of solidity. “I still think it’s disgusting...” “Obviously. You’re an idiot, you know that?” “Whatever to you. You’re an idiot. Also.” Atom roars another laugh, smiling diamonds. A minute –full of people passing; on the fringe of The Patch it’s loud. A static hunts and capsizes every creeping silence; people-as-shapes reel and veer around the chair mountain, they specter in their mysterious ways, positioned somewhere inside of their bodies like undiscovered planets, in their own peculiar orbit– passes. “But I wonder: what can people do to each other under stress? What lengths will people go –to survive– when comfort and stability are gone? What happens when it breaks? Our way of life, our consumptive routine, our immense squandering of finite energy, our cursed addictions,” she says. “We all know it’s coming...” the guy on the end says. “Duh. Of course we do,” the girl shakes her head in sympathetic moronory. “Where will our food come from, our water, our heat, where will these necessities come from when the industrialoil-complex can’t provide them anymore? But–” she shakes something out of her head “–I didn’t say that right; that didn’t come out right... I don’t know. I don’t know... I used to think...” She looks just as confused as the people listening to her. A bottle of beer is passed to her. She looks at it; drinks from it; sets it on her knee; still looking at it: through the glass, on the other side of the label –astick to the bottle– is this:

150

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

We have at most 10 years ‒not 10 years to decide upon action‒ but 10 years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions; 24 of 73

How many years ago was this written, she wonders in dead cold dread, eyeing her surroundings in chronic suspicion. “Certainly, desperate people do desperate things,” says the middlemost. “Too, too true,” she mumbles. “Well, we’ll see, won’t we?” “I’d rather not; I’d rather be dead.” “Maybe you will be.” Sitting here, upon the mountain, Lake and Bell look over their shoulders: they can see Fundamental Boulevard crouching in reverse –the entrance, now an exit, a leopard, taut; a dynamite, a detonate– opposite, inside-out. They can’t help but wonder what the world will look like when they re-enter it... if they re-enter it. Lake’s and Bell’s eyes ache at the outlook. “This City is a freakshow,” Bell says. “A dicey environment, indeed. Highly volatile, highly tempestuous,” Lake says in response. “Which is appropriate.” “How does it stand? Is it going to truly fall-apart? Right, now?” The City answers Bur: No. Not yet. “Now?” The three hunchy, bucked bodies quit the pew. Weaving through the forest of benches, the three pass an origami mobile, yarned together with twigs and branches. The girl pauses at it; and stops one crane in its windpropelled spin to read:
We re stuck dealing with the leftovers, paying exorbitant maintenance fees on someone else s dream; 18 of 73
151

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

She reads the quote... then turns on her heel. With that, the three mutter and muff their thoughts, as they try to get out. A fat cloud parts, a beam escapes, a building brightens. Away and below, the beaming building kindles the City aglow. But then, for all that, a number of minor clouds swirl and coalesce and unite, suffocating the sun; the building duly so. Atom looks to the girls, and to Bur. He gets up, stretching, touching his toes, touching his palms flat to the ground. “Wanna check it out?” Atom says, face in the rubble. “Then we’ll go to The Lith?”

T HIRTYFO U R
Atom leading, the four descend and traject around the stack of benches. The noise piques, and erupts. The Patch, it’s carnivalous. A fireworking fair; raucousing, roistering, boistiferous... Stepping through a ripe, viridescing threshold, stepping into a corridor; passaging away... Booths line the thoroughfair: but the booths... they are... alive: branches and roots and arms crochet: leaves laced –living architecture 166– they integreat. Their parts threading into each other, like the yarns of a sweater. The whole carnival is a tapestry –still growing, constantly making itself, even now– a mindbending arbor sculpture 167... its features and parts in a tangly embrace, hugging itself. Braids and plaits twist and tail, entwining a meshwork. Grass rugs weave into willow chairs, that weave into ottomans of tight clumping, shorn bamboo, that weave into posts that are lamps glowing and growing into, becoming, walls; weaving into arches. Into vaults; burrowing the tourists in, weaving them into a great green barrel; candleflames nook in the integreativity, flashing the banners, lighting a statue.
152

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

A general shape of a man, but bulbed, clouded in vines and climbing plants –like turned to stone, but not; instead, turned to plant– climbing to and framing the strip of metal-sheeting he holds above his head: ‘with a cosmos for brains (connecting-l-e-galactic; never swallow another line; with all the dots; it’s our turn to draw; we are, all the stars; we grow a new ethos; we will support ourselves, assisting to tear down what must be, building what ought be) we make a new world.’ Bell stops. The specks of dust catch the candlelight and blaze, jeweling and twinkling like filament in fabric; silver starsparks, and gold, and aluminum, and uranium. The people’s bodies whale through the glitterous air that’s thick like liquid. Viscous like gel. She looks to her side, to a small fetusy-fish hanging from a booth’s beam like a trophy, like a POW: “A dolphin!” “A baby dolphin!” A group of kids crowd; Bur is the only one unable to see easily. “Yep. It’s a dolphin alright. A baby dolphin.” Over the ferneous booth, the official gives the stringed dolphin a little spin, spinning there for the kids to see; the metallic dust flecks sticking to it. “A dead baby dolphin,” the spokesperson nods heavily. “The number of baby dolphins washing ashore now168 is new and something we are very concerned about.” Looking curiously at the dolphin, then, looking curiously at the kids, he continues: “Although none of these carcasses bear outward signs of oil contamination, all are being examined as possible casualties of petro153

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

chemicals that fouled the Gulf of Mexico after a BP drilling platform exploded.” “How many barrels of oil were spilled?” asks a small voice from the pack. “An estimated 5 million barrels; that’s about 206 million gallons. Over the course of a few months.” “That’s a big number...” “11 people died. That’s a smaller number.” Poising the baby dolphin up on fingertips, icky and stinky: “We’re discovering about 12-times the regular number...” he says, staring at the black thing. “Oh yes, not to worry: we are on high alert,” he says, shooting his hand to attention, but missing, and slapping himself in the face. He makes a ‘Gosh, what happened’ face. The kids laugh. “When we see something strange like this happen to a large group of dolphins –which are at the top of the food chain– it tells us the rest of the food chain is affected.” Shooting rivets, the words tack: “The last wave of dead dolphins tallied 89. The government’s oil spill damage assessment haven’t yet been released.” Lake looks down to her feet, to all their feet: to a blanket. To a greasesoppy, tremblous, and shivering pile. Out from the blanket, bones a flakey hand... “Any change? Sir, Miss? Friend?” It’s childish voice wobbles, aquiver like the blanket, and wet like it. One of the kids at the dolphin booth reaches into his pocket for coins. “No, no son; it’s alright, it’s all part of it,” a voice, presumably the boy’s father, says. The blanket gasps. Rasping and quaking. It shrivels. The kids scatter and Bell and Bur and Lake and Atom continue along the amaze-ing corridor... {A speakery voice, somwhere in the trees, in the bushes, in the rugrass, in the dolphin says: “Events like problems –like: do we have a problem– fester and maim as explosions occur.
154

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

We have a problem; which –and while– we fail to investigate.”} ...then, the boom of a big banner, caught taut between the arms of two sweeping willows, as if the trees themselves are hoisting it: Ocean Dead Zones Increasing ! ! ! “A... Dead ocean...?” someone tries to say/imagine. Another banner gives more concern: Linked to Corn Production169 ! ? ! ? “What isn’t...” A soft-skinned, long-fingered woman says, sliding her fingertips, her nails across her cheek, across her collarbone, along her neck. Tapping her foot. {“We have a problem: honesty costs more than explosions. The Bhopal170 disaster was acceptable, it was fine: its cost/benefit analysis clear. Rather than come-clean, we clean-up. Investigations slow development. Maintenance, responsibility: meh.”} “A marine dead zone is an area which is periodically or permanently starved of oxygen,” the rep behind the dead-ocean booth says. “Currently, there are about 400 coastal areas... with such poor water quality, with so little oxygen that only microbes can survive in it.” “Do we know what is inflaming the oceans?” The woman’s long hands coddling herself, still. “Well, The New York Times says171 that nitrogen from agricultural runoff and sewage stimulates the growth of photosyn155

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

thetic plankton on the surface of coastal waters. As the organisms decay and sink to the bottom, they are decomposed by microbes that consume large amounts of dissolved oxygen. Most animals that live at the bottom of the coastal ocean cannot survive as oxygen levels drop.” “Oh no...” “...corn ethanol...” someone says. “I thought corn could feed the world...” The woman speaks again, her fingers now locked around themselves: “This sounds really, really bad... Is there anything that can we do...” “Seems experts pretty much agree that the changes needed to reverse the trend are dramatic. Just cutting the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone by a third would require almost a 50 percent decrease in run-off from the Mississippi River watershed...” “Oh. Yeah. I guess that makes sense.” {“Directors in this dead set down.”} The woman fades and Bell and Bur and Lake and Atom continue along the amaze-ing corridor... A movement like intestines shudders them to a stop... A circle forms. {“Preventable tragedies are just fine,” says the same speaker’d voice, now speaking louder... still from somewhere secret: in the roots, the booths, the jackets, the lights. “Health and safety are risks.”} Those close enough see three people –three people nearly naked– awrithe upon the ground. “Foo...ood...” One manages. “Wat... ter...” Croaks another.
156

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

The third doesn’t move; just moans sickly, wretches, then, nothing. More crawling, more clawing, more crying come from the other two... {“What do we want? A total breakdown, complete ruin; fish gone, trees gone, coral gone, mammals gone, sky gone, us gone?”} A quiet collapses in an explicit heap at their feet. The circle applauds, it whistles, hollers encore. {“Do we need all this mashed into our faces... What do you need?”} The circle stares fixedly, blankly. Waiting to see what else these three dying people might do next. {“Do we actually need to fail, to flunk, before we adapt?”} Lake and Bell pause at another booth, then Atom and Bur pause, too. CORAL REEFS MAY BE GONE BY 2050 !172 THE SEAFORESTS ! GONE BY 2050 ! ! ! “All of the world’s coral reefs could be gone by 2050. If lost, a half-billion people’s livelihoods worldwide would be threatened. By 2030, over 90 percent of coral reefs will be threatened – so says The World Resource Institute.” “But, they’re so beautiful...” says a solid lumberjack, looking at the neon, brilliant photos. “Why are the coral suffering so much?” {“Too often too late. The message either didn’t reach or didn’t register; killing a planet in the next 12-18 seconds, and more often. This is called a “run-to-failure” approach:
157

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

push until it breaks.”} “Overfishing, coastal development, pollution, and climate change – mostly. Warming sea temperatures lead to coral bleaching, a stress response where corals expose their white skeletons. Because of the rising acidity –largely attributable to CO2 emissions– some scientists claim we will see conditions not witnessed since the period of the dinosaurs.” With Bur in the front, the four of them depart, quickly leaning around a corner, opening to a kind of ballroom-auditorium, the vines and plants the outline of a spacious room. Humongous candliers globe planetary above. From a balcony, fashioned with knots and wraps of branches and stems, above a crowd, a man speaks; the speakers sending his voice throughout the entire Patch: {“Amok as they are in such boundless immunity, and fortified by enormous reserves of money, while running equipment to failure rather than maintaining it: the oil and gas industry often gets its way.”} Atom looks to his friends and sees their interest; so he walks towards an open spot in the crowd, and sits. {“All of which strongly suggests that oil refineries are a politically influential industry. Sadly, what we’re talking about here is atrociously common – very, very, very much the rule. This shirking of responsibilities is classic. To consciously choose profit over any other variable is heartbreakingly standard. “Furthermore, to speak of oil refineries engaging in this practice, is like shooting one soldier in the army. Replace the words ‘oil refineries’ with any other industry –such as politics, government, pharmaceuticals, oil, advertising, military, prisonindustrial complex– and it doesn’t change a thing. Except scope. Except volume. Every one of these industries breathes on greed.”} A wave of nods swells. {“This is today’s chimera:
158

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

the-oily-political-pharmaceutical-advertising-media-military-prison -industrial-complex: this is our modern foe. This is our civilization. “Our civilization – governments are molesting Us, law makers are cowing Us, GDP is assassinating Us, petroleum is deluding Us, medicine is executing Us– is murdering us. Our civilization has a tremendous, and searing blind spot: the rest of the world. We all know this. In its way, our civilization will take care of Us. Unless, of course, we take their genoside.” His eyes take a wild shock, his mouth opens as it takes in air, his words whetting: “Rapists. Oh it’s a brutal word, I know. And it’s appropriate; raping the natives, the slaves, the poor, the sick, the minorities, raping the land, the water, the air, raping our rights, our freedom, our energy, our imagination, raping the future. But it’s not their fault; not really: it’s ours for letting them. “We cut our faces out of our brains, we cut our power out of our life, we bend over and strive for continuous heat exchangers and rotating contraptions and perfect pipes, just to get by, just to ‘make ends meet’. So while we’re bent-over, busy making ends meet, we’re just taking it. Taking it and taking it, too busy to stand-up. “Taking it, because we are told to. We strive for this, we kill for this, we fragment and die for this. We strive, kill, fragment, and die today, for this. We rape each other for this. But, we must ask ourselves: for what?”} The speaker stops. His head angles. Eyes unfocused; is he listening to something? A clamor drops on the crowd, they’re hearing something, too. What is that?! Heads fling to identify... that, that noise! Where is that –screaming?– coming from? Screaming: a redfire volcanos into the greenwall. A flame, a tall, oval flame... moving – tripping > flailing – writhing... Speaking? Begging. Pleading. Screaming. A person in squelling torment, douses a reality of horror over the crowd. The person is a shrieking, bleating ball of fire.
159

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

The smell of hair-on-fire, the smell of bloodcharring, barbecuing. Of marrow melting. Of bones blackening. Some of the crowd scrambles towards exits. Some of them stand, sit, stand, sit. Some vomit. At another rawsome shrill, some of the crowd horde-up. Another blood-curdler pulls them yet nearer. But not so near: it is, after all, a man on fire. The firebrand stumbles up the stage below the balcony; ascream, on fire. “Help! Help me!!! Jesus Christ! Please! Help!” The crowd’s mouth is open; making only soft, polite words – as the man of chars, his skin crisping, and crunching. “Is this real?” “What’s happening to that man, daddy?” “Atom? Is this safe? Is this dangerous?” “You tell me.” A hole opens and the earth appears to swallow the fire. Bur looks really bothered for the first time. But nobody knows what to say. Instead, they leave. And Bell and Bur and Lake and Atom continue along the amaze-ing corridor... Bell and Lake holding hands. “Get your toilet seats! Your camera cases and oil drums! Get your toothbrushes and cigarette lighters! Get your baseballs! Get all your plastic bags, all your straws! You can get all yer shit; back!” THE WORLD’S LARGEST LANDFILL IS ACTUALLY... the ocean... THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH 173 “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest landfill in the world, though ‘landfill’ isn’t exactly the most fitting word for the thing that has formed in the middle of the Pacific ocean. The Pacific Trash Vortex consists of 3.5 million tons of trash –90% of which is plastic debris; swirling around between Hawaii and Cali160

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

fornia– and is twice the size of Texas; or twice the size of The United States, depending on which scientist you ask. Some 48 parts plastic for every 1 plankton.” “Disgusting. Trash soup. Forty-eight times...” Bell nearly jumps out of her skin: the orator again! {“We have a problem: We have a problem of hiding in the back seat. Would you agree that the definition of gross negligence has been met in this case? Yes, Jones replied, it was gross. Have there been accidents? Absolutely. Could the accidents have been avoided? Most definitely.”} “That’s right. More than 200 billion pounds of plastic are created every year, and at least 10% of it ends up in the ocean. And know where it comes from? 80% of the plastic soup was once on land: was once thrown out a car, was once dropped into a trash can, was once thought rid of. So think twice before you take another plastic bag. A trash-can isn’t a magic box; despite what we’ve been led to believe. “Project Karsei –a ship174 sent out to explore ways of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch– took some samples, and there was plastic in every single one; reaching well below the ocean’s surface. The degraded bits of plastic are particularly nasty as they easily shift with currents and are nearly impossible to extract.” {“We have a problem: it’d be awfully profitable to keep running this disintegrative program.”}
161

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Project Karsei cites Benign By Design175 : ‘we should be able to eat what we make’. Horrifically, in what could be the most heartbreaking damage estimate yet, Karsei’s chief investigator Dr. Andrew Neal speculates that between the plastification of the ocean and climate-change induced dead-zones, within our lifetime all fish species could be wiped-out from the ocean.”

THIRTYF I V E
Tangled in the walls, the booths dis Bur dizzy, “I feel sick.” Lake stops. “This is fucked. I...” Bell stops, too. “Want to sit down a minute?” Lake spills like a bucket. Puddling barf on the ground. She’s moaning, and vomiting. “What are we supposed to do?” Bur’s face is in the ground, nose flattened. “We’re doing a lot,” Atom tries to rebuild what The Patch broke. “Yeah. Sure. I feel a whole lot better,” Bur ironics, only able to make monosyllables hearable through the dirt in zher mouth. “No, really. You know this; there’s all kinds of amazing stuff happening. Like Planterponics176 , a very low-cost and easy to build window gardening/farming systems and LocalWiki177 , a collaborative local media for every community.” “Yeah,” Bell says, somehow having found positivity so quickly. “People like The Mexico City Eco-Punks 178 are popping up everywhere.” “Learning real skills has never been easier and people are realizing that wilderness survival is radical and are studying at places like Trackers179; that folk arts and crafts like blacksmithing, boatbuilding, woodcarving, and knitting are awesome and are studying
162

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

at places like The North House Folk School180; and studying earthen building181 is a snap182 . Permaculture183 is practically a universal word/answer184.” “And people are revolutionizing their lifestyles and homes, rethinking things like water185 –like this ingenious (and, actually, really obvious) sink/toilet syncing186– discussing oil187...” Bell adds again. “Really: you name it, and people are on it. Treehugger188 is an obvious source of inspiration; and there’s The Automatic Earth189, Global Guerrillas190, and The Ecocathedral191 .” “And architecture,” Bell says, as lake coughs-out the last legs of her barf. “The humble alternatives to mainstream architecture in Pamphlet Architecture192, architecture out of context in lifewithoutbuildings193, and pruned194 . Bell, could you give me some water?” Lake puts the water in her mouth – and wonders if she should swish the puke and spit it out, or if that would be a waste of fine, artesian water. She drinks it. “Masdar195, Dongtan196, Huangbaiyu197. 2600 The Hacker Quarterly198. Open, free, and neutral telecommunication networks199 . Collaborative online maps for squats and autonomy projects200, rethinking the abandoned world201, and the most fascinating abandoned man-made creations202 . The unbelievable-butactual Atlas Obscura203,” Atom continues to spout, apparently bottomless. “There are more interesting things in this world than you could shake a zine204 /pdf 205 /torrent206 library @...” Bell says, keeping up. Bur’s face unburies. “The inventive recycling at Superuse 207; The Beehive Design Collective 208, which is creating collaborative, anti-copyright images that can be used as educational and organizational tools; The Seasteading Institute 209 which is furthering the establishment of permanent, autonomous ocean communities, enabling innovation with new political and social systems.
163

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“And, my personal favorite: Open Source Ecology210: a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters that has been imagining and creating the Global Village Construction Set, an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform. These DIY-fabricated industrial machines can be used to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts. The construction set lowers the barriers to entry into farming, building, and manufacturing. It is a life-size lego-like set of modular tools that can create entire economies. So radical. So, so radical. And don’t forget to scan their list of links211: from bicycle tech to living machines to open business models to bulldozers to self replicating rapid prototypers to micodiesel to grain threshers to an incubating eggs fact-sheet.” “Wow. Been waiting for the right moment to get all that out or something?” Bur says, rolling around in the grass, cracking zhiz back. “I gotta stay up. You know,” Atom says. “It’s all there is. Staying up.” And then the speaker speaks again: {“Clean me another spill. Swear it’s all worth it. Swear on anything you can. Cram a thousand refineries in my ass. Bleach my bones with cement. Label me. Maim me idealistic, fine me dumb. Render me a reduced character in your media-fiction. Choke my radical lefticism and witch my throat. Murder my mind with your myth. Masturbate me another lie. I won’t swallow. We have named this world, and we will eat it – if we shut-up. We will eat our family’s bodies and vanish – if we shut-up. What do we have to do, to end this nightmare. Name this bird. Follow this bird. So grow a tongue. Grow, a tongue. It’s getting worse. Accidents accentuate. And worse, and worse.
164

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Now, because of us, it is our responsibility. And, now, no one will stop us. No one can as we reinvent our lives. As we grow a tongue.”} Atom looks at those passing by, a monstrous grin on his face; Bur looks into the ground; Lake closes her eyes, and rubs them, hard; Bell picks at her fingernails. {“We are institutionalized oil, is an enchantress technology, izawizard. Our megalomania is realized: manifestered destikneed dumbinion. In a huge hole in the ground, workers navigate treacherous thickets of pipe. As hearts become tanks and other vessels of superheated liquids, the most flammable vapors and toxic gases known are man. In an ultravast sea, sailors row across extremely volatile compounds, avoiding high pressures, high temperatures, and the rotting industrial behemoths. In wet and cold, standard-issue basements, secretaries lone in the dark; single-storied, complexed, labyrinthing. In milkeries, judges grade hazardous chemicals, weigh risk and assess cost, algebreak distance and incentives, sieving a prophet like a profit high on fumes. Riding the landslide as pirates and designers and inventors and visionaries we are calculating for catastrophic damage. We are synthesizing a new script to wake in this body as it corpses. We have a good grip on accidents, as children of decay, we have a circumstantial trigger-finger on meltdown. We’re glassing it. Right now.”} They all get up, pass through a lush curtain, a bolt of moss, heavy and dense in do, resurfacing into The Park at the very feet of The Lith... Atom plucks the sheet of moss, shoring it up to his shoulders, cloaking.
165

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

Bur grabs a gnarled and knotty stick, staffing it – and frees a long vine, coiling it around, and around, it extends like a spike from the head, and a tail from the spine. Lake and Bell look around... Bell finds a massive, multi-colored, long lanceolate leaf, pop two small holes in it, breaks a rubber band from her wrist, and attaches it. Lake finds two petal-full flowers, one blue and one pink, pops out its center and its stem. She punches a hole through its middle, and asks Bell for another rubber band. With Bell leaf-faced and Lake flower-eyed, Atom mosscaped –and now capped in an origami’d leaf, somehow finding a bird feather, arrowing aerially– and Bur wizarding, forehead bandana’d in a leaf, and another –a green bean leaf ?– stuck to zh’s shirt like a badge... the four approach the The Lith. It’s dusk. Again. The air an oil-sand grey, a coat of purplepearl-dust over smashed peaches. They stare up at the behemoth. Cshrows shrill while the Banyans evoke the sharpest sense of forebodeous transformation any of them have felt. They weave through The Lith’s new legs, and arrive at its front door.

166

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

THIRTYS I X
It isn’t until Lake enters The Lith, that she realizes they had cut in line... cut straight through the long log of people, waiting, queued up outside. “Atom?” She looks back along the line they skipped. “Don’t worry about it,” he says, taking his leafagami’d hat off, dipping it to the doorman who flashes a smile and opens the door. Bell and Lake blink their masks in utter astonishment: the high ceiling is vaulting crystalline chandeliers, dropping them nearly to the ground, caught just before they crack heads by ornate chain, crowning people in castles. “Huge... chandeliers... tall...” Their lights spiral down the last length of chain, widening-out, orbiting: their light lashing into the moaty, deep velvets of the floor, their light cutlassing the wisps of silk that frame the wall-less windows. Lush paints of red and purple glint like diamonds on the Banyans that are inside the foyer, their burnished bark pops the bright whites of those painted pillars brighter. Inches of polish locked deep into their dark flesh caramelize like syrup. Bur stumbles, catching zizself on the rootsy staff: a sootblack piano, on a pillow of burning turf; eyeing inside it, a tornadic mosh of trumpeting and fiddling and...! “Is that Emir Kusturica212 and Goran Bregovic213, and Philip Glass214?!”– throatsinging215 and khaens216 , and bouzoukis217 and hulisis218... and hang drums219... and violins! “All being played at once220?!” Bell looks across the foyer, to and through what was a wall; a ten-sided star plays hole, window, and door. Atom leads them through the smell of bow-ties, of pearls-on-chokers, of mohawks,
167

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

of wet, paints thicking on breasts and faces, of sneakers, of crushed, raw, cocoa beans, cinnamon, vanilla beans, and starfruit to the star. Nearing, they see a breakdance battle221. “Wow! It’s really Junior! He’s... incredible,” Bur says, stunned to see Junior actually doing those things in real life. Atom steps through the star, and curves around the room, towards another door. And another room. Dark, this one. Candles glow purple glass. Atom wanders around the crowd, to reach a vantage that Bur can see from. “David Elsewhere222! Awesome!” Bur says with widening eyes. “Like liquid...” “Looks like a liquid robot,” Bell says, amazed. Atom nods, and sets towards another door. Through it, they see a pole-performance 223, an aerialist performance224 and an integral bamboo performance225. “Bamboo... what can’t it be?” Lake says, shaking her head. “Man... it must have taken months and months just to organize all this art...” Lake says without breath. “Not so much. You know: build it; and they will come. As they say,” Atom says mellowly. He leads them to a guarded door – which is opened to him– and through a maze of rooms. In one small, totally empty, grey room, the floor is painted:
So what would happen if an architect (who works mostly on public parks) teamed up with an anthropologist (who studies narrations of the near-death experience) and a neurophysiologist (who understands the basic cortical mechanisms) to design a themed environment specifically meant for triggering near-death experiences; 51 of 73

They read, Bur writes, and they enter another room. A composition touches floor, covers one wall entirely, rounds a corner to another wall, and halves the ceiling in words:
168

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

We encourage projects that explore the value of infrastructure not only as an engineering endeavor, but as a robust design opportunity to strengthen communities and revitalize cities. Unlike the previous era, the next generation of such projects will require surgical integration into the existing urban fabric, and will work by intentionally linking systems of points, lines, and overlapping architecture with planning. This notion of infrastructural systems is intentionally broad, including but not limited to parks, schools, open space, vehicle storage, sewers, roads, transportation, storm water, waste, food systems, recreation, local economies, green infrastructure, fire prevention, markets, landfills, energy generating facilities, cemeteries, and smart utilities; 43 of 73

“I can’t believe how much is going on here,” Lake says, totally dropped by all the productivity. “Gonna write that whole thing, huh?” Bell says, looking at Bur scribble. “I’m a pretty fast writer,” Bur says seriously, but grinning. “Have these pieces been here long?” Lake asks Atom. “They have. We filled this room with our ideas before we did almost anything else. We wrote for weeks. Check this one out,” Atom says, pushing open a whole wall like it was a door.
For his or her latest project, a well-known (but not necessarily well-liked) artist convinces a number of architects to include in some future building a small room that the artist herself has designed. It s the same exact room, and it will be repeated again and again, throughout the numerous structures around the world ‒ but it will be done without any public acknowledgement that the rooms exist. It s an art project no one knows about. These rooms presence inside the buildings will thus be kept a secret; no one will know that they exist, let alone where they all might be; 39 of 73

169

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Are there many more rooms?” Lake asks, wiping her forehead. “Are there many more cards?” Bur asks, jazzed. “Yup. Lots of both. And this next room’s got a few cards in it.”
After all, why not skip BLDGBLOG, Archinect, Archdaily, Inhabitat, and Dezeen altogether and simply mass-produce trading cards of your own speculative building plans? Then just hide those cards inside cereal boxes and wait till the ideas trickle out, burning into the collective cultural consciousness; 38 of 73 How incredibly interesting would it be to find that, in every box of Wheaties, or hiding at the bottom of every canister of oatmeal you open, new visions of the cities around us are patiently waiting? A whole new urban redesign of Tokyo awaits anyone who buys a bucket of popcorn at the start of 2012; 36 of 73 Architecture is, by definition, the act of imagining alternatives. You see an empty site ‒ and so you imagine it as something else. You imagine what it could be; 21 of 73 How could the people of the world s most oiladdicted country have a president, a vice-president, and a secretary of state who are all oil company executives and believe that conquering the 2nd largest oil field in the world has nothing to do with oil; 7 of 73 The truly disturbing thing about peak oil is that it appears likely to come much sooner than the oil companies expect. They are claiming that we have much more time to solve the problem than is likely to actually be available; 5 of 73 Our cities are living systems that we shape and which shape us; 1 of 73
170

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

A guy taps a mic; then begins to speak, “Introducing Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary226.” O’Leary approaches the mic and a grip of the crowd quiet to listen. But three people streak by, ‘running’, extremely 227. The crowd postures shock. “Was that guy wearing skates,” Lake asks. “Was that other guy on fire?!” asks Bell. Atom opens another door, and they find themselves back in the main-foyer; flashes lightningbolt between big cameras and faces, alighting foliagefull columns and long beards –long, yet nowhere near Geo’s beard– and the smell of... champagne... aromas sparkles in their noses. “Yo,” Atom says quickly, catching the attention of a passing bellhop. The bellhop smiles and his crows-feet smile, too. Atom reaches towards his long, raw-wood platter. “Goji-nettle kombucha-champagne,” the suited man says. “Mmm. Right,” Atom says, taking a flute; and another, and another, and another, until they’re all heavy-handed. Bell reaches into her pocket, but Atom stops her. Confused, but happy about it, she sips: “Amazing!” Throwing the flute down, swallowing big, Atom says, “Sure is. We invited a kombucha lab, offering them a whole house in The Park. They’ve been turning-out some amazing stuff. Kombucha isn’t usually above two-percent alcohol or so, but they’ve found a way to increase that quite a lot. And bubble-it up.” Bur looks into the last of zis flute, still roaring with fizz, before downing it. “Aahhmm... Delish!” “And,” continues Atom, “they found out that kombucha can be made from all kinds of things. Lots of trial and error, though. Ah. And, they lace the last few days of fermentation in lightflavored delicates like dandelion, borage, strawberries, mangos, nettle, and raspberry leaf. Beet and watermelon; durian and mangosteen; all kinds of wild stuff.” He whistles the waiter back; who disappears and reappears in another camera-flash, with another platter of drinks.
171

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“And, they make wine.” He grabs a glass, and so do the others. “You should check out their library. They don’t use packaged yeast. It’s all wild-fermented228. Wait until you see the recipes they’ve got! They keep talking about a book called Sacred and Herbal Beers229... and... what is it... ah! That’s right: Radical Brewing230 .” All aswig. Then: “What is this?” “I dunno.” “Tastes like... pumpkin.” “Or cantaloupe.” “Or carrot.” “That’s right: carrot! I remember hearing something about sending the mash to The Crown to be turned into some kind of tart, or something.” “Mmm! I’m hungry!” Atom hears Bell say, seeing the others nod in agreement. “Alright! Let’s go!” His moss-cloak flashes.

172

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

THI RTYSEV E N
Atom weaves them through pajama’d tigers and raukers and tuxedos, through penguinies and monks, and conductor-punks. People wearing gowns of balloons. People wearing only bushes, robed in leaves. Others wearing only honey, and powdered chocolate. A dress made out of batteries, a dress made out of fish skin231 , a dress made out of pill-bottles. A robot, a cactus, and a bloody George Bush sit circled around a lamp-looking thing. “Hookah,” Atom says, as the robot ghostfaces in milksmoke. Like bubbles surfacing from water, the four burst through the throng. The whole back wall is an arted chalkboard. An egg with Earth for a yolk, in a dinner-party for out-of-sync timepieces. Knives on the wall make letters: WELCOME TO THE LITH TEN @ @ TIME Lake realizes that all the people standing near the silvertrimmed, marble-topped reception are actually waiting their turn to get into the elevators. But this time she doesn’t say anything to Atom as he leads them to the line’s front, only nodding to the gildy desk as they catch the very next elevator, leaving the line dusted. Getting into the elevator as a tour guide exits, Atom says: “What do you think? You wanna just go straight to The Crown, save all the floors in between for later?” Bur and Lake and Bell look at him like why would they want to skip them; so he says: “Because you’re hungry? And, because...” –looking at his watched wrist– “... it’s almost time for the show.” “Ah.” “Show?” “Sure.” They say it, stepping into the elevator, realizing its walls are glass. Atom’s arm moves, his hand, his
173

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

finger; a button like a window on the panel like a skyscraper lights-up, shafting the four up-in-to the vertical. A stripe of concrete guts The first floor: A tall room; of screens. Pyramiding. People stand and stare. Televisions, stacking. All on, nothing intelligible, nothing, just colors, TV colors cartooning the world in TV colors. And oh: “They are all painted.” Each screen’s an image and just as Bur realizes that they are mosaicking one, massive image, just as z is about to detect the greater image, it’s gone. The guts between floors. The second floor: Photographs; of buildings. In timelapse. Of some specific buildings falling apart, like some liquidation, like icecubes sunning, like ordained shapes, unintentionalizing, unglaciering, tongueing a red breaking point, dropping sections like severed limbs. As the elevator rises, a sweeping view over the floor: people following the photographspiral, ending, in a circle around a tangle of couches. And it’s gone. The guts. The third floor: Just like the ground floor lobby. Same design, same furniture. But empty, deadesolated. Nobody is inside this room. Maybe they aren’t allowed. Bushes bedded in broken windows dapple light like nothing else in the world can; this lobby is so much disconcerting light. The front desk is in pieces, covered in bird shit, and a dozen nests perch in rafters high above it. The floor above has given a lot
174

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

away, and what it has lays scattered and busted about the lobby floor. A lintel cracks the air –audible even inside the rattley elevator– and a load of roof-tiles clatter to the ground, a creeper booms a blue bloom, a seed drops from the rafters, a whole sky of them follow. They each hit a broad-leaf, or a wide fern, or the soft hummus of the lobby floor... Gone. Guts. The fourth floor: Grey dust. Black mold. Calico walls. Patches of walls still holding to columns and the blue-black of the sky outside. Guts. Again. Blue-black. And again. Grey-black. And again. A strata. And again. Black-black. Stratification of guts and holes of chunked sky. Grey concrete. Black again. Grey. Guts. Purpling sky. Layers-on-layers on, alayering a liney lair, laying on and... Different. “Ah! A zoo!” A wilderness. “Looks more like a wilderness than a zoo.” Trees in forestfulliage. It’s open. There are no walls, and no visible ceiling, the taller trees throwing their canopies freely. Nobody’s wandering around; they are all catwalking above it, peering in... The line between floors. A similar scene staticky with stretched dots. Birds. Another line of guts. The tops of the trees. Monkeys. Birds and birds. Guts.
175

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Wow! A roller-coaster?!” “And a tram.” They push into the glass of the box to see more of the tracks tracking beyond the floor’s ceiling. “Five stories,” Atom says. And for five stories, the rollercoaster snakes, turning tight, and dropping. Curling, balling into itself like intestines. Sloping intense; the car whizzes past, all screaming and hollering in free-fall. Guts. And then everything’s bright.

THI RTYEIG H T
Stepping out of the elevator, Atom leads them –around some tiny kinetic sculptures, banding and jointing waves of steps, under tensegrity towers skying like math formulas– through packed-tables, to one empty, ribboned-corner of the rooftop. A waiter beats them to it; and unties the ribbon before them. “Evening Atom,” he says, winking at his companions. They round the staircase that spirals the fat pillar, and arrive at a spacious terrace above all the other guests on main-floor of The Crown. Just four chairs and a table sit on The Lith’s brink, blinking the long, long, long fall to the Park’s floor. A breeze bends The Lith. Bell looks out across The Park; upon the nearest building’s roof, an enormous rectangle of fabric tauts on bamboo tripods. Bell points, seeing the projection atop it animating a Teclopolis232 . “Wow...” she mutters softly. “Look at that. The whole top of a building, a theatre for our party.” As soon as Atom’s mosscape’s slung over the chair, and all have taken seat, the waiter tables four dessert-charged plates. “Albert Adrià’s falling chocolate trunk 233 – filled with frozen chocolate powder, on a forest floor of lime-and-mint yogurt, with
176

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

almond praline, puffed quinoa, and green-pistachio streusel,” he says in one long breath, and then, gone. “What...” They all look at the ensemble, reconfiguring their relationship to dessert, to collapsible art. A gang of people sprint/flip/ streak by234, unbelievably jumping from the rooftop, towards the ground so many floors below... Atom is the first to reunite the table: “Well: what do you think? I mean, about the world falling apart and everything. Scared? Inspired? Angry? What about all this?” Given just one moment more: they would have responded; would have found the insights, identified what they had learned. And given a few more moments: they would have begun to survey the view, to gorge the grandeur of The Park toying below them, to stare at The Mountain and surmise... A few more moments: and they would have come to some terms, uncovered some insights... A moment more and they would have declared some meaningful life-direction. They would have answered the big question: what to do, what to do? Indeed, what to do... But instead, there was a rumble; instead of more moments, there was a great big rumble... A rumble big enough... to make The Park vibrate, to make The Lith squeal. A rumble big enough... that the great building begins to shift and to shift, and the visitors first feel a vibration, a shaking – coming from somewhere. Slowly, the people on its roof begin to question. There’s laughing, at first, but carefully, slowly, then more laughing – supposing Fall Apart Park has prepared another joke; but the laughter quickly becomes a different kind – there’s a touch of pensivity in it. Laughter with a building concern... until it emerges, naked, and rawing. An ill-turning-worry. A swelling wave, gearing for a great spilling.
177

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

A rumble big enough... that the faces begin to realize. Seriousity begins to implode their lives. The significance of dying, of... of the building collapsing... reaches, grabs, and grips. A rumble big enough... to look around: it’s on everyone else’s face, too. Alarm. It’s contagious and it’s taking over. A cold-cut of uneasing opens on faces, curdling them in fear, as a dread dawns: will this building fall down? A rumble big enough... that a hysteria breaks like a tooth. Screaming, and the tensegrity sculptures tumble, falling on top of squelching people. But so flexible, so contrary to the weight of everything else around them, so airily unlike the concrete everyone is above to die with... so adaptable, they only squish onto the screaming and bounce back into their shape, like a slapped waterballoon, rolling over a village. Bell and Lake hunt; but Bur and Atom are gone. They give each other what they imagine their last look, and jump from rooftop of The Lith. They plummet with the force of gravity, as their bodies slowly ragdoll to whips of wind. The next thing that happens is weird: their eyes focus. They realize slowly: they’ve focused because they’ve stopped plummeting towards the earth. They look at their hands... at the bracelets that are tied to them, which have somehow exploded into parachutes! Taking stock of that, their eyes move to what’s before them, which sloshes them in another wave of surprise. The Mountain. Now knowing where they are going, they peer to where they were: The Lith. Within the cloud of dust, Lake and Bell can already see that the old building –the concrete and beams and everything else– is gone... and that a new building –one of living limbs and leaves, and healthy trunks– stands in its place. Bell’s head drops in awe. Feeling witness to a great evolution, Lake’s does, too. “At least I’ve gotten used to accepting and adapting to bizarre situations,” Bell says.
178

F a l l A p a r t p a r k

“Finally. It finally happened,” Lake says, her eyes twinkling. “Finally,” she says, slipping the turtle bone mask that Geo gave them over her face. A rumble big enough... to do what everyone always knew would be done. Big enough to finally be big enough. A rumble big enough for Almond to step out of The Mountain. He squints into the sun... and sees two people flying... no, they’re riding a hot-air balloon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR You’ve probably seen him. Maybe you knew it was him. Maybe you didn’t, And, you’ll probably see him again. Where? It could be anywhere...

179

REFERENCES
If you would like to purchase a physical copy of Fall Apart Park, you can: http://gregorycrawford.wordpress.com/written-works/fall-apart-park/free-digital-edition/ 2 mistergregcrawford@gmail.com 3 www.gregorycrawford.wordpress.com 4 Hamish MacDonald’s handmade books: http://www.hamishmacdonald.com/contact/contact.php 5 The Sherwood Press: http://thesherwoodpress.wordpress.com/ 6 Camilo José Vergara: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camilo_Jos%C3%A9_Vergara 7 Ian Weatherseed: http://ianweatherseed.com 8 W: http://eatizens.com 9 ClownZero: http://www.clownzero.org/Welcome.html 10 Pedal People: http://www.pedalpeople.com/ 11 [im]possible living: http://www.impossibleliving.com/ 12 Cory Doctorow: http://craphound.com/bio.php 13 Richard Register: http://www.ecocitybuilders.org/richard-register/ 14 Ecocities: Designing cities in line with nature: http://www.ecocitybuilders.org/richard-register/articles-and-publications/ 15 a board: http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/missing-buildings-of-cockatoo-island.html 16 game: http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/offshore-oil-strike-for-all-family.html 17 a deck of trading cards: http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/zeppelin-center-island-of-future.html 18 Geoff Manaugh: http://www.ballardian.com/politics-of-enthusiasm-geoff-manaugh-interview 19 THE BLDG BLOG: http://www.bldgblog.blogspot.com 20 Professor Offlogic’ article: s http://permaproject.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/towards-a-brave-new-land-and-the-making-thereof-by-professor-offlogic/ 21 Steampunk Magazine: http://www.steampunkmagazine.com/ 22 Professor Wolf Hilbertz: http://www.wolfhilbertz.com/ 23 The Barefoot Architect: http://www.tibarose.com/ing/publicacoes.php 24 Henry Darger: http://www.hammergallery.com/Artists/darger/Darger.htm 25 The Pirate Party: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Parties_International 26 LaserCave: http://www.lasercave.biz/ 27 trademarking terms like urban homesteading: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforkinit/2011/02/pasadena_family_trademarks_the.php 28 The Glass Bead Game: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Glass_Bead_Game 29 Bitcoins: http://bitcoin.org/ 30 the uncontacted people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncontacted_peoples 31 500 Nations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/500_Nations 32 our cities are organisms: http://www.slideshare.net/Grayanat/m-arch-living-architecture 33 Into Eternity: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1194612/ 34 J.G. Ballard’s fiction: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Ballardian 35 Ballard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._G._Ballard 36 Community Supported Literature: http://unfoldingthefantastic.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/csas-cslits/ 37 the free audio book: http://gregorycrawford.wordpress.com/written-works/fall-apart-park/free-audio-dwnld/ 38 maybe because there is an electronic edition online for free: http://gregorycrawford.wordpress.com/written-works/fall-apart-park/free-digital-edition/ 39 Cory Doctorow: http://craphound.com/ebooksneitherenorbooks.txt 40 publishing: http://craphound.com/ebooksneitherenorbooks.txt 41 copyrights: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/nov/23/copyright-digital-rights-cory-doctorow 42 awesome stuff like that: http://craphound.com/someone/?p=363 43 agriculture: http://www.risingriverfarm.com/ 44 CSA: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ 45 vegetables with flowers and fruit: http://helsingfarmcsa.com/ 46 Bakeries: http://8armsbakery.com/ 47 mushrooms: http://www.promushrooms.com/ 48 honey: http://littleredtruckfarm.wordpress.com/ 49 culture boxes: http://frolicfarm.org/community-supported-culture/ 50 ‘Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank and he can rob the world’: http://www.quotes-clothing.com/give-man-gun-bank-rob-world/
1

Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/ Christian Shearer: http://www.permacultureglobal.com/users/45-christian-shearer We The Trees: http://www.wethetrees.com/ 54 dot, dot, dot: http://www.myspace.com/thepolkadotdotdot 55 the Rust Belt: http://rustwire.com/ 56 Detroit: http://designlevelzero.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/urban-decay-the-ruins-of-detroityves-marchand/ 57 more complicated: http://www.guernicamag.com/features/21/leary_1_15_11/
51 52 53

180

so much more: http://documentaryheaven.com/requiem-for-detroit/ 59 more interesting: http://www.detroiturbex.com/ 60 more incredible: http://www.guernicamag.com/spotlight/1182/food_among_the_ruins/ 61 so incredible: http://www.heidelberg.org/ 62 The Sarajevo Survival Guide: http://www.friends-partners.org/bosnia/surintro.html 63 booch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha 64 Camilo José Vergara: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/jan2001/det-m97.shtml 65American Ruins: http://www.amazon.com/American-Ruins-Camilo-Jose-Vergara/dp/1580930565 66 BLDG BLOG: http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mathematics-of-preservation-and-future.html 67 The Beech Tree Festival: http://www.festivaldeshetres.be/ 68 bee-line: http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/59/messages/769.html 69 singing, ringing tree: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B0hGyKV9qs 70 tensegrity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tensegrity 71 kinetic sculptures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcR7U2tuNoY 72 The World Without Us: http://www.worldwithoutus.com/ 73 Czech Dream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKFUuMr63EM 74 two buildings: http://after5detroit.com/a5/images/stories/imagination_station.jpg 75 looks like a revolution: http://www.kare11.com/assetpool/images/111115012116_occupy_wall_street_police_640.jpg 76 earthship: http://www.earthship.org/ 77 helvetica: http://www.helveticafilm.com/ 78 an awesome little girl: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/little-girl-upset-with-the-way-toys-are-marketed 79 Mouldiness Manifesto against Rationalism in Architecture: http://www.hundertwasser.at/english/texts/philo_verschimmelungsmanifest.php 80 really awesome cart: http://rrbike.freeservers.com/Railbikes_and_Railbiking_Pictures.htm 81 Constellation Farm: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Constellation-Farm/178177592206209 82 Foxfire: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxfire 83 the Turtle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_(submersible) 84 in the sea: http://www.birthintobeing.com/index.php/articles/conscious-birth/waterbirth 85 born with dolphins: http://www.planetpuna.com/Birth&Dolphins/index.htm 86 SQUAT: http://squatbirthjournal.blogspot.com/ 87 Birth As We Know It: http://www.birthasweknowit.com/ 88 Orgasmic Birth: http://www.orgasmicbirth.com/ 89 nice resource list: http://www.hedbergpubliclibrary.org/pdfs/community%20gardening.pdf 90 this book: http://www.growbiointensive.org/publications_main.html 91 and this book: http://www.melbartholomew.com/ 92 and this book, too: http://www.foodforthoughtbooks.com/book/9780143118718 93 Andrew Faust: http://www.homebiome.com/about%20us.htm 94 Camera obscuras: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_obscura 95 one in Detroit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Il12Ch_4ZQA 96 Free State: http://freestateproject.org/ 97 The Decline and Fall of Private Law in Iceland: http://freenation.org/a/f13l1.html 98 The University Built by the Invisible Hand: http://freenation.org/a/f13l3.html 99 Realized Regenerative Living: http://www.floatingneutrinos.com/Other%20Rafts/lauren2.pdf 100 The Light Community: http://www.scribd.com/doc/73322596/The-Light-Community 101 MiiU: http://miiu.org/wiki/Main_Page 102 Moi Mel: http://vulpeslibris.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/the-dunites-by-norm-hammond/ 103 sand-cat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_cat 104 Local Exchange Trading Systems: http://www.gmlets.u-net.com/ 105 open-money: http://www.openmoney.org/ 106 closed-loop input/output diagrams for buildings: http://www.plantchicago.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/ThePlantDiagram_mini.jpg 107 hackerspaces: http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/List_of_Hacker_Spaces 108 co-working spaces: http://coworkingregistry.org/list-of-coworking-spaces 109 mycotech: http://www.fungi.com/mycotech/petroleum_problem.html 110 mycoremediation: http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/4/the_real_magic_of_mushrooms/ 111 Paul Stamets: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.html 112 mushroom death suit: http://infinityburialproject.com/burial-suit 113 methane gas: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_uses_of_methane_gas 114 Jean Pain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Pain 115 Compost Power: http://www.compostpower.org/ 116 Brobdingragian: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brobdingnag
58

REFERENCES

181

forest garden: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_gardening 118 Remind me to tell you about a short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hftgWcD-1Nw 119 one for you, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQmz6Rbpnu0&feature=related 120 mycoforest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycoforestry 121 Water has memory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILSyt_Hhbjg 122 What the #$*! Do We (K)know!?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfJxx0BNyFM&feature=related 123 ‘Get better’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEitrZU-nCw 124 Aye yuse dees doh: http://zinelibrary.info/files/Primitive%20Toothcare%20PRINT.pdf 125 The World Cafe: http://www.theworldcafe.com/method.html 126 The Death Owl: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gormenghast_(series) 127 Nina Simone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Simone 128 a really good song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=470GoGKBbhc&feature=related 129 I heard Tom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7Fv4Fx44t4&feature=youtu.be 130 Rachel Armstrong: http://www.ted.com/talks/rachel_armstrong_architecture_that_repairs_itself.html 131 responsive and evolutionary architecture: http://www.wolfhilbertz.com/downloads/1972/hilbertz_evolut_environ_1972.pdf 132 Godspeed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aLjup934Rk 133 You Black Emperor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aLjup934Rk 134 Brainstorm: http://www.myspace.com/brainstormbrainstorm 135 Powernap: http://www.lasercave.biz/store/lc003-%E2%80%93-powernap-sings-your-mantra-lp/ 136 that Indian: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3236118.stm 137 Damanhur: http://www.damanhur.org/index.php/component/content/article/25/40-the-temples-of-humankind 138 Angkor Wat: http://www.admin.mekongangkorpalaces.com/Administrator/images/users_images/angkor-wat-130.jpg 139 It’ like everything has been reduced to just another link on the screen: http://www.google.com/search?q=news&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 s 140 Thrilling Wonder Stories: http://lhttp://www.thrillingwonderstories.co.uk/ivepage.apple.com/ 141 find a startling piece: http://www.tomorrowsthoughtstoday.com/ 142 information: http://www.democracynow.org/ 143 playground teeter-totters pumping water: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Energy-Matters/Renewable-Energy/See-Saw-Electrical-Power.aspx 144 a design for a floor: http://inhabitat.com/tokyo-subway-stations-get-piezoelectric-floors/ 145 Dual Survival: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_Survival 146 Life is Beautiful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_Is_Beautiful 147 Human Planet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HiUMlOz4UQ 148 Antonio Gaudí: http://www.red2000.com/spain/barcelon/phgau.html 149 TREES: http://www.neatorama.com/2007/03/21/10-most-magnificent-trees-in-the-world/ 150 Prometheus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus_(tree) 151 lambic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambic 152 eyeball plant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spilanthes_oleracea 153 Productive Dystopia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD0wyaWCHk0 154 ‘Money As Debt’: http://vimeo.com/2244372 155 ‘ ge of Stupid’: http://vimeo.com/18877207 A 156 ‘Growing Awareness’: http://www.lasercave.biz/2007/05/growing-awareness/ 157 ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma’: http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_pollan_gives_a_plant_s_eye_view.html 158 Jon Jandai: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxDoiSuthep-Jon-Jandai-Life-i 159 ‘Time For Change’: http://www.2012timeforchange.com/ 160 ‘Me and You and Everyone We Know’: http://meandyou.mirandajuly.com/ 161 ‘Metropolis’: http://www.kino.com/metropolis/ 162 ‘RIP: A Remix Manifesto’: http://ripremix.com/ 163 ‘Project Grow’: http://www.growinginalldirections.org/about/ 164 Jeffrey Jerusalem: http://www.myspace.com/jeffreyjerusalem 165 SAFE: http://www.myspace.com/safesafesafesafesafe 166 living architecture: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2331180/posts 167 arbor sculpture: http://arborsmith.com/index.html 168 baby dolphins washing ashore now: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/25/dead-dolphins-death-gulf_n_828153.html 169 Linked to Corn Production: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/06/ethanol-worsens-deadzone.php 170 Bhopal: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/02/big_sky_documen_1.php 171 says: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/15/science/earth/15oceans.html_r=2&ref=environment&oref=slogin 172 CORAL REEFS MAY BE GONE BY 2050 !: http://www .huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/25/coral-reefs-may-be-gone-b_n_827709.html 173 THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH: http://atlasobscura.com/place/great-pacific-garbage-patch 174 a ship: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/09/video-bad-news-and-trash-pervade-pacific-gyre.php 175 Benign By Design: http://www.amazon.com/Benign-Design-Alternative-Synthetic-Prevention/dp/0841230536 176 Planterponics: http://www.miiu.org/wiki/PlanterPonics
117

REFERENCES

182

LocalWiki: http://localwiki.org/ 178 The Mexico City Eco-Punks: http://www.pbs.org/kcet/globaltribe/countries/mex_punk.html 179 Trackers: http://trackerspdx.com/ 180 The North House Folk School: http://www.northhouse.org/ 181 studying earthen building: http://bloominginspace.wordpress.com/trainings/shelter-space/ 182 snap: http://www.strawbalecentral.com/links.html 183 Permaculture: http://www.permacultureplanet.com/ 184 word/answer: http://www.permacultureglobal.com/ 185 water: http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/ 186 sink/toilet syncing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrGyG8pGFMo 187 oil: http://www.theoildrum.com/ 188 Treehugger: http://treehugger.com 189 The Automatic Earth: http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/ 190 Global Guerrillas: http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/ 191 The Ecocathedral: http://www.timefoundation.com/en/ecocathedrals 192 Pamphlet Architecture: http://www.papress.com/other/pamphletarchitecture/about.tpl 193 lifewithoutbuildings: http://lifewithoutbuildings.net/ 194 pruned: http://pruned.blogspot.com/ 195 Masdar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masdar_City 196 Dongtan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongtan 197 Huangbaiyu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huangbaiyu 198 2600 The Hacker Quarterly: http://www.2600.com/ 199 Open, free, and neutral telecommunication networks: http://guifi.net/en 200 squats and autonomy projects: http://g.co/maps/x92bh 201 rethinking the abandoned world: http://www.impossibleliving.com/ 202 the most fascinating abandoned man-made creations: http://g.co/maps/mbjnv 203 Atlas Obscura: http://atlasobscura.com/ 204 zine: http://zinelibrary.info/ 205 pdf: http://www.scribd.com/ 206 torrent: http://thepiratebay.org/ 207 Superuse: http://www.superuse.org/ 208 The Beehive Design Collective: http://www.beehivecollective.org/english/aboutus.htm 209 The Seasteading Institute: http://seasteading.org/ 210 Open Source Ecology: http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/Main_Page 211 list of links: http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/Special:WhatLinksHere/Main_Page 212 Emir Kusturica: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpO93jR4kL4&feature=related 213 Goran Bregovic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtX-V4OE50Y 214 Philip Glass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7NUz5ivqYg&feature=related 215 throatsinging: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxK4pQgVvfg 216 khaens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZgMopmHPNs&feature=related 217 bouzoukis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCRYUJPiMyM 218 hulisis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYYQ52KnAUs&feature=related 219 hang drums: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLl2eBGZlF0&feature=related 220 at once: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Pir4KfsOhw 221 breakdance battle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xRs2y6MPxc 222 Dave Elsewhere: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2FTwbkbmcc&feature=relmfu 223 pole-performance: http://youtu.be/waIuhfoTMv8 224 an aerialist performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHL7YZ3QYOs 225 an integral bamboo performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-OzecoNE0k&feature=related 226 Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary: http://www.buzzfeed.com/realchrisjones/ryanair-ceo-gives-awesome-speech-at-eu-summit-1h23 227 ‘running’, extremely: http://vimeo.com/26523947 228 wild-fermented: http://www.wildfermentation.com/ 229 Sacred and Herbal Beers: http://books.google.com/books/about/Sacred_and_herbal_healing_beers.html?id=auBJAAAAYAAJ 230 Radical Brewing: http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2009/02/book-review-radical-brewing.html 231 a dress made out of fish-skin: http://www.expoone.ca/expoone.html 232 animating a Teclopolis: http://vimeo.com/21598295 233 Albert Adrià’s falling chocolate trunk: http://www.ediblegeography.com/the-dessert-crisis/ 234 A gang of people sprint/flip/streak by: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEeqHj3Nj2c
177

REFERENCES

183

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful