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'Barren Oracle, Breath of Cinders' by Urbain Checcaroni & Hanna Umin, Presented by Final Hot Desert, Silver Island, Utah

A barren oracle breathes in husks of cinders. Yoked in its eternal mourning, it cries for the unbounded while refracting the droning tone of burrowing entities in the transparent sky. It’s shadow is the darkest dark stretch. Its tears were dry as it poured salt into plains. A heaving pulley to abyss, an eclipsed and grinding gust of nether soot: exhalation. If keratin continues to grow after death, and one passes through this gate, they may find their extremities pulled in a centrifugal extension: hair to toes, spiraled nails, feathered arms.
 
The votive wheel twists and turns. Values blasted, light serrated. Periphery sentinels sing: choleric cleanse cut coin combustion ripped hook resurrection. The libation has dried. They poured you ammonia. We drove off and shucked it! It is not hair nor nails which continue to grow after death, but the skin which recedes to the quick friend of the grounded cuticle.
 
This fruit is peeled for us underneath the whelming sun. Calculations hung on layers of salt, calculations formed on the sensitive point of the brow, and there beyond the seeds of time, the most rapt, drunk-on-god, cobalt and gold…the sand gathers into its folds like the cries of thunder wrap themselves along thinning lines of already evaporated moisture, miles before it reaches the dry crust. The blues wrung from the sky, wrung by gnarled hands in the dye-bath – the yellow clinking of coins – a voice sings alone, painted on their brow the cipher of their god…here I tread, you tread in this land of high slopes where the linen of the gods is hung out to dry.
 
Drifting through the sands like a priest torn to pieces, the strong sun encompasses the straggler. The sense of running water deep in the earth beneath their feet teases in cthulic promise. The dry wind sings from another age: a drifting cinder, the echo of a hundred fires wakened by the barking of dogs, buried now in soot. The echo of the songs stretches across the desert floor on thermodynamic currents, tethered to the earth by heavy volcanic rubble. Sulphur, honey, colors of immortal things – not a pure grain in the beard of the wind, and light like oil, from the crack of my eye to the level of the hills I join myself, I know the stones are blood-stained by swimming swarms of silence hailing from hives of heaven.
 
HERACLES:
Where did my madness take me? Where did I die?
 
AMPHITRYON:
By the altar, as you purified your hands.
 
THESEUS:
I come to share his grief. Uncover him.
 
AMPHITRYON (to Heracles):
My son, drop your robe from your eyes,
show your forehead to the sun.
An equal weight of supplication comes
to counterpoise your grief
O my son, I implore you,
by your beard, your knees, your hand,
by an old man’s tears:
tame that lion of your rage
that roars you on to death,
yoking grief to grief.

23.3.21

Curated by Torre Alain, Ben Sang, & Valerie You

Photo by Hudson Kendall & Ben Sang

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