The Impossible Machine
MACHINA POETIKA: Terrapin's "Free Verse"
3 SHORT STORIES    1   2   3   based upon


Once there was a boy in Africa who was very
dreamy and wishful. One day he heard about a
great exposition, where people from all over the
world would come to see the wonders of his
native land. At the exposition the boy became
enamored of the many varieties of flora, and
especially the great and lofty trees.

When the boy came into adolescence he found
employ trimming and watering exotic trees for a
wealthy landowner, who also kept a menagerie of
animals. It so happened that at the end of every
day the young African must return his tools to a
certain shed. The shed was also home to a snake
that was kept secured in a cage of wire. The
young African was enchanted but fearful of the
snake. He decided that he was too fearful, and
perhaps if he spent more time there he would
learn to appreciate that it would not harm him.

He was a dedicated worker, and soon the wealthy
landowner gave him access to his private library,
which included many volumes on horticulture and
the medicinal value of plants. Every night he
remained in the shed to study the books on the
exotic plants. The more he studied, the more the
snake seemed to grow. The young African
decided that it was only his own imagination
running away with itself, and really there was
nothing to fear. Besides, the books were teaching
him many valuable lessons about the dangers of
particular plants and animals.

It has never been determined exactly why, but
one day when he arrived at the shed to put away
his tools and peruse one of his cherished
volumes, he found that someone had neglected
to lock the snake enclosure. In that instant he
hesitated, and could not choose whether he
wanted to study the secrets or preserve his own
life. Meanwhile, the snake bit him and swallowed
him whole.

All his boss could remember of him was that he
had a passion for studying plants and that he was
a dedicated caretaker of trees. The moral is that
insofar as you are consumed by your passions,
the world will consume you, but if your passion is
to mean something to the world, you may yet be
regarded and remembered.

Rumor has it, that not far from there a strange
tree began to grow: soon it had a dark hairy ape
body for a trunk, and although it still held up lofty
branches, it began to lose its roots, so that one
day it could be seen floating in a heavy wind, like
a very dark, very naked man on a hang-glider.
Townspeople believe that the young African and
this tree-person are the same, that because he
begat no children, his spirit could not move on to
the next world, and instead took the form of one
of his beloved arbors. And some crazies have
even suggested that he has developed a kinship
with eagles, in order to conquer the snake. --July
12, 2005

Upon Returning to a Garden

Do not follow in the footsteps

That House



Freedom from Happiness

Rainy Impressions  

Figments of Elysium  

A Cubic Wood  

Tree of Seasons

To eat is not always to devour

A Rigorously Failed Poem

There have been instances


Le Contrarienne


Le Turetta

Such variance formed as
makes discretion claer

The set idea of determined


Leaves in Light



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