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Artificial Symphonies

by Tamara Panici

        I open the day with my elbows and step into a portrait of surrealist attitudes and complimentary tones. I sponge or blot-out specific memories involving black eyeliner, tampons, and hormones while sloughing off others that involve magnitude, fires, blanket statements, and rape. I put on the reddest lipstick I can find then I accidentally pull out three or four eyelashes with a cheap eyelash curler. I make certain parts of my face darker and certain other parts of my face much, much lighter. I take a clinical approach to color. I subdue pores and accentuate freshness. I explore the concepts of line and color theory and am transposed by my inclination to accept clean angles and shades opposite to each other on the standard color wheel. I empty myself out into a bowl known as my head then I rummage through the dirty clothes hamper and pull out a black lace bra with extra firm inserts and dainty, embroidered straps. It smells of roses or dirt or human probability. Suddenly I am overtaken by several components of game theory and at least one million statistics I am indirectly responsible for producing. The TV mentions hernia meshes, implants, surgical procedures, and settlements. I listen though I am not the targeted ear. I am forced to give myself a purpose through sensorial experience this moment and every moment. Ears are a good enough reason to listen. The TV moves on to artificially imposed narratives spliced by artificial symphonies. I am, by proxy, existential and exquisitely corporal. I attach my mouth to the atmosphere and sway like a moray eel. I dial one number and then another. I begin to chip away at a sentence when a man’s face becomes boxed in or stuck to the TV screen. I am pulled into attention with curious sounds then I am given a visual display of plumpness. On screen and off screen roundness moves regularly and dramatically and figures go between being frenzied and being perfectly still. It is expected that I assume these figures consider their overt roundness assets to assert onto the prefabricated hierarchy. I introduce my own thoughts and they rise up like balls of heat. They burn in the cave where a dead man lives, in the cave where I warm my psyche and bury myself in embers. It is true: I am fueled and alight with theories and, though I am energetic and engineered through a mixture of genetic and human-made predisposition, I float like a piece of star post-explosion. I have come to a point in the trajection of the human imposed quantum arrow where I must imagine the rings inside of an old tree—their graininess, their symbolic or scientific representation of time. Everything is a kind of manifestation of time. My bones and my hair are both time. Even my teeth and spleen are time. This occurs naturally and fools me into the belief that I am indeed one completely detached entity in a world of completely detached entities. My eyebrows and lungs are part of the perception of direction. I am on an arrow unlike any manmade arrow. I am on a man-thought arrow. I try to stay still yet I move with the concept arrow and it only goes in every direction. I slice an unpeeled carrot then I open a jar of mayo (no hydrogenated fats or oils, no trans fats) and a packet of soy sauce (reduced sodium.) I make steps to go any route and end up stuck in a perfectly imbalanced shade of equilibrium. I consume and am consumed by the world. A man on TV uses the words dip and slip in the same sentence; this is meant to convey humor but instead conveys lackluster desperation. A voice says pre-Washington days. Then a commercial comes on and demands that I invest in windows that will save energy over the course of my entire lifetime. The commercial refuses to mention that the length of any lifetime is just an idea or a gamble at best. This entices me, but not to buy the energy efficient windows. I go on to eat cubes of cheddar cheese (reduced fat) and I tuck my socks into my pants. These are symbols of my intention to evade tangible tasks. I am in a mood to feel charged though I do not make a motion to switch out my current state. I flick myself on and off. I roll on the sofa then I roll over my head. I am the most pragmatic beast in the house. I am currently the only beast

About the Author

Tamara L. Panici's work has appeared or is forthcoming in such places as Storm Cellar, Whiskey Island, River Styx, Typishly, Sugar House Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Prelude, and elsewhere. She was the winner of the 2018 River Styx Microfiction Contest. She works as a chef in Washington, D.C. 

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