VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Edward Wells

*Note to accompany: This text, the remarkable wild:/ an unknown continent/  a term used to mean/ geographers were positive/ imagination to run riot/ writers depicted/ gems and jewels is a creative reading, which is to say sourced from, The Remarkable Voyages of Captain Cook by Rhoda Blumberg and The Wild Orphan by Robert Froman,  it is comprised of multiple sections which appear in sequence yet seemingly not in completeness. This may be experienced as a literal opening for the reader to engage in Nils Enkvist’s concept of interpreting the text, which is the building of a “text world”, It may also bring to the mind the work of Kathy Acker for some readers.

the remarkable wild:

an unknown continent

a term used to mean

geographers were positive

imagination to run riot

writers depicted

gems and jewels

1

it was late afternoon

in March

from that moment on

a privileged passenger

passionately interested in botany and zoology

2

cut off from the outside world

unusual

an unusual man

official instructions

to proceed southward

to make discovery

to describe the people

to cultivate friendship and alliance

to take a correct observation of the transit of Venus

the first voyage

was a tunnel into the side of the hill a quarter of a mile down the valley

busy unlocking the great, rusty padlocks and swinging the huge door on its squealing hinges

once he overheard

but

thought they wanted him to overhear

he 

was positive he was dealing with spies

more interested in fortifications than flowers

3

land of giants

consisting of two artists, two sailors, an astronomer, a surgeon,

charts, and notes

nine months after

in the direction away

the surgeon did not feel unhappy or mistreated

the astronomer nuzzled her and encouraged her

the difference, in size and strength, between the surgeon and the others was getting a little greater almost every day

noiselessly and swiftly

she crouched behind a bush one last time

and made a little sound halfway between a purr and a meow

it was the last time

paradise 

extolled

succumbed to the embraces

remembered had been destroyed

stealing everything that came within their reach

stockings

beautiful silver-trimmed white jacket

waistcoat

a quadrant

an iron rake

twenty-five large canoes that were loaded with fish

muskets

pistols

the fish began to rot and stink

the astronomer chose a site on the beach for observing the transit

surrounded by a wall that had six swivel guns 

where love is the chief occupation

the price for lovemaking was nails

there was not a cloud in the sky

a penumbra spoiled the viewing

all over the world

the direction of the wind had changed

air no longer flowed

one sailor and one artist caught on the breeze the scent of the surgeon

she did not hear the sailors until they were almost on her

barking and lunging from this side and that

the second artist was filled with awe

never had she seen an animal so handsome as the surgeon nor a spectacle so dramatic

the whole world seemed empty

5

the second artist stayed where she was a long time

her pain and misery slowly got to be a little less

then she heard the second sailor talking 

“you won’t have to worry about them

they’ll starve quick after her”

the astronomer was not hungry for his supper that night

but he tried to eat a little

all he could see was a dark, narrow opening

astonishing customs

hundreds of pricks that drew blood

to hold the surgeon down

the astronomer in mourning gashed the top of his head using sharks’ teeth until blood flowed freely

the opening was big enough for him to get his head and shoulders through,

but the idea of crawling into the dark cave made him a little sick

one of the stones seemed a little different

it was furry

faintly warm

for a long moment he could find no sign of life

then he saw the surgeon’s sides slowly rise and fall as she took a tiny breath

rising to his knees, held her to his chest

“starving!” he said out loud

“starving to death”

6

cannibals and goblins

she seemed to be a monstrous, supernatural waterbird

the offenders collected shells, flowers, tree blossoms, and stones, probably for magical reasons

they hid in the bushes

tired and frightened the astronomer somehow decided that the surgeon was safe

he crawled beside her, curled up, and went to sleep

he had always liked her

even her smell seemed pleasant to him when it came faintly from a distance

he felt very confident

the astronomer knew the surgeon would never hurt him

what he noticed was the sound of the surgeon’s voice and her smell and feel

for many weeks she was almost everything that mattered to him

her presence became a reason of purring with contentment

7

a unique land

two weeks after

the offenders ran away

they had no desire for possessions

all they seemed to want was to be gone

but the surgeon did not have to think about them now

all that mattered was the wonderful fact of having the astronomer, the other artist, and the other sailor and being so important to them

trapped

trying

colorful butterflies

watching attentively

flailing wildly

blended almost invisibly

a healthy crew

proud of an unusual record

fanatic about good nutrition

teeth loosened or fell out

joints swelled

covered with sores

8

the surgeon was growing bigger and more beautiful every day

port

six weeks after

open sewers and stinking

garbage-filled canals

a cesspool that bred killing diseases

the four others were dead

while the astronomer and the surgeon were bedded down

two years and eleven months after

home again

fulfilled their instructions

she began to realize where she was

the offenders’ scent lingering in the space probably triggered a dim memory

she had been unsafe here before

she apparently accepted the imprisonment as the natural way to live

when the astronomer came back each morning

he greeted her with a great display of mews and purring 

she would pick him up and cuddle him for a while

and he would lick her labia and clitoris vigorously

who wants a firsthand explanation of these charts or a private report

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