[ Truth ]

[ Flammable ]

[ Becomes Red ]

[ Dream of ]

[ Bone ]

[ Tooth ]

[ Matter ]

[ Nota Bene ]
A Bestiary


So this menagerie, which now holds armadillos, eels, elephants, snakes, little worms, medieval horses, monsters and giraffes, ends. Over the course of this endeavour I have invoked a number of tough and nimble predecessors in the promulgation of animal-related works—Pliny the Elder, Carla Harryman and Herman Melville among them—and feel confident that the animalia contained in the 13 chapters of the Bestiary now available for your perusal—this all-Bestiary issue of The Friend not the least—stacks up, as they say, just fine.

I kicked things off with Christopher Smart's Cat Jeoffrey, who was "a master of gravity and waggery" and who could "tread to all the measures upon the music." I'll close now with this animal imagined by Kafka, who dreamed his animals more darkly than Smart did, but just as beautifully:

"It is the animal with the big tail, a tail many yards long and like a fox's brush. How I should like to get my hands on this tail some time, but it is impossible, the animal is constantly moving about, the tail is constantly being flung this way and that. The animal resembles a kangaroo, but not as to the face, which is flat almost like a human face, and small and oval; only its teeth have any power of expression, whether they are concealed or bared. Sometimes I have the feeling that the animal is trying to tame me. What other purpose could it have in withdrawing its tail when I snatch at it, and then again waiting calmly until I am tempted again, and then leaping away once more." (Trans. Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins.)

            —Laird Hunt

* * *

The Truth of It - "The Monster on the Staircase" - Henri Michaux, tr. Laird Hunt.

These Midnights of Flammable Torsos - 6 Poems - Kevin Varrone.

If the Area Becomes Red - "Feed" - Heather Ramsdell.

In the Dream of Dying Cephalopods - "Unfolder" - Jonathan Skinner.

In the Jaws of the Mastiff a Bright Bone - 4 Poems - Rebecca Wolff.

Tusk and Sharp Tooth - from "girl/ending/world" - Lindsay Ahl.

This Diaphanous, Shredded Matter - from "The Boy Who Could Fly" - Mary Burger.

Sad to see the beast come to an end - but this will be our first book, Laird Hunt's bestioanthroposophy, so it is really a beginning of sorts.




Issue No. 15 Copyright © 2001 The Transcendental Friend. All rights revert to the authors upon publication.