Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Zachary Schomburg—Issue 64, April 2017)

Amy Lawless
The Ship to the Island to New Ideas

image of The Ship to the Island to New Ideas

I’m on the ship that left Earth one hundred years ago. My grandparents boarded the ship. With them they brought everyone they had ever known or loved. The ship was founded on principles of painlessness and nonviolence. They wanted man to evolve. They tasted food slowly. Our ancestors were violently ignorant to man’s obligation to kill with their minds. We traded our cooking-guns for cooking-knives. We turned the sky into two eyes. As time passes, people either reproduce more frequently or less frequently. Ed stared at a littering teen and killed him with his mind. The teen died. Ten minutes later the teen’s body disappeared. Ed said “the pictures are on the back of my mind and I just draw.” This ship is in the back of my mind, and I just write and a book appears. I can’t let Ed know about the book. But one day he’ll see it, and you never know. When Ed draws, a teen appears or a dog appears. Mind to matter. I write it out.

The ship began as an idea. I had to retreat to something like an island when Earth had done all of its hurt. Then it appeared. Some people think leaving Earth is giving up. Our ancestors thought it was starting over. So does Ed.

Dan said that thinking about the ship at all was the real work. If you take away our guns and cooking-guns we are better. If you put two eyes into the sky, do we get better?

Eventually the ship becomes an island. Art isn’t a hobby. It’s gestation and birth. If you take away our guns, knives, competition, will our art get better? All the new gynecological instruments can be 3D printed. In my dreams I am a woman at a typewriter imagining new therapies. But when I wake I make the same chopped salad again and again.

Satire tears things down, so we have art crits every ten minutes so that we all can fit on the ship. Nobody needs a body, but everybody has a body. There’s no way to block Ed from willing people out of existence. But Ed has a lot of girlfriends and boyfriends. It’s kind of hot. Sometimes the girlfriends disappear. Sometimes we can use their bodies as fuel. Most of the time they live.

Our vegan feces make a florid energy, we chant. Everyone gets a funeral march during which their bodies are made into fuel. Bodies make the ship run smoother, faster, and more robust. So fast I saw the stars go from yellow to red to blue barbicide.

Someone invents a cooking-gun and all the good work in the pursuit of pacifism is erased.

I thought inventing the ship meant that I had given up on Earth. But I have found this other way.