Testing, one, two.
I paddled the length of the Yukon River with my partner, Pete. All I got out of it was this lousy essay. Just kidding. It’s a great essay, I swear. And there’s some photos too.
When life feels like a cage. My latest. Check out my essay in the latest issue of Earth Island Journal.
And I gave some answers.
The mouse is tired of being a mouse. In fact, it’s a bit tired of being anything at all.
“What am I?” wonders the mouse. “A bag of flesh, bone, fur, electrodes. Where in the mess of me do I find meaning? Where in the mess do I find me? How did I ever find myself on this island?” The mouse clearly has more questions than answers. In fact, it doesn’t even know if it is actually the mouse, or whether that is just the name it has been given since its birth.
“What if I’m actually Pear.”
“Or maybe I’m no more and no less than I’ve always been. Here.”
And so, Here stands up on all four feet. It wiggles its tail. Sniggles its ears. Criggles its nose. And then Here screams as only other creatures similarly proportioned and composed can scream. Piercingly.
The scream was for no one besides Here.
Though on second thought, the scream may have also been for Now. But that’s another story.
Please check out my essay “How to Queer Ecology: One Goose at a Time.” It will be featured in the March/April issue of Orion.
The mechanic finds that he’s grown tired of all the games. Why was he chasing the mouse in the first place? Is he really that hungry? Does anything matter at all? He sits on the sand, his socked feet digging into the damp, salty beach.
“My name is Abraham,” he says. The ocean doesn’t respond. The ocean doesn’t care. The island of trash doesn’t care. The sun, its bottom edge just now behind the earth’s curve, is unaware of Abraham’s existence. The ball of combusting gas will never know the tug of Abraham’s atoms on its own. Equal and opposite.
Abraham sits for what to him seems like a long time. He imagines himself Buddha. He waits for the Om. But instead he hears his insides. They are angry. They want to do what they like to do. Break down and rebuild.
After reflecting on the mouse’s words, the mechanic decided to do something.
“I am going to eat you,” said the mechanic to the mouse.
“The hell you are,” said the mouse, who proceeded to flee the scene. The mechanic had expected as much from the mouse, and after losing his breath in chase, he sat down and devised a trap. It was quite ingenious, really: a broken keyboard made to look like a floating piece of detritus well-suited for a mouse’s escape from an inhospitable island. The mechanic hid an old can cut as a spring-loaded blade within the battery compartment of the mouse-escape shuttle.
That evening, the mechanic laid the raft out on the most outflung peninsula of the island. He hoped the mouse would find it in the night and attempt his ill-fated journey off the island.
The mouse, however, had no intentions of leaving the island, as he was afraid of water.
A mouse and a mechanic were once trapped on a desert island. This particular island was not as-seen-on-TV. It had many distinguishing features, like oiled beaches and condominiums. There were also piles of plastic run aground in the calmer bays and inlets.
In fact, the whole island consisted of plastic: the trash thrown away from any number of other people in far off lands. The mechanic looked at the mouse, and said, “I wish this weren’t such a small island. If we had more land, I could figure out a way to grow my own food. And if we had more forests, I could figure out how to build myself a house.”
The mouse looked at the mechanic and said, “I wish I had opposable thumbs and a cerebral cortex.”
“Mine aren’t helping us any,” said the mechanic.
“Exactly,” said the mouse.