Part of a Thing I Love: “Detours on the Way to Nothing”

Bird-woman

Something I’m really digging this week is one of Lightspeed’s reprints for February, “Detours on the Way to Nothing” by Rachel Swirsky. It’s short, fragmentary, beautiful, erotic, and very dreamlike – appropriate, since one of the thematic centerpieces is the power of fantasy.

You will never know how I am possible. My philosophy—my cult, as you called it—is old and secretive. We have no organization, no books of dogma, no advocates to harangue passersby with our rhetoric. Each initiate finds us alone, deducing our beliefs through meditation and self-reflection. Only the magic of our sacrificed tongues unifies us.

Our practices have few analogues in Western thought, though you could call us philosophical cousins to the Buddhists. We believe there is no way to lose the trappings of self so completely as to become someone else’s desire.

If you see me again, I will not be a bird. I will be a figure made of jewels or a woolly primate with prehensile lips. My skin will be rubber. My cock will be velvet. Each of my six blood-spattered breasts will be tattooed with the face of a man I’ve killed. The goal is endless transformation.

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