The Artist and the Gnome of Coney Island

As she disembarked from the Q train she could see the great silver paws of the ocean slapping slumberously at the beach. Here she could escape for a moment from the world of dirty dishes and vacuum cleaners. She walked as one bewitched to a squat, slate-blue, seaweed-splotched and seagull-dropping-striated lump of rock, a strange chunk of earth to be found on the milky sands, but not altogether unbelievable. Upon closer inspection a sour face was revealed, a coral nose, anemone lips, and two algae-green barnacle eyes.

A bucket of chum she had brought in tribute or simple charity, fish guts, crab chitin, mollusk shells, and sting-ray cartilage. As the elemental creature gobbled greedily, crunching and gurgling at the kindness of his mistress, she knelt in the sand and pet the gnome seriously but sweetly, saying, “We have done excellent work together, little spirit, outsider utterance of turf in this context of surf and acidic gull screechings, to make manifest a literature of redemption and miraculous change. From this world of murderous rumor and blind obsession we have carved a territory, small, in which you may dwell away from the gnomes who do not understand you. In this vessel, fabricated from the corpse of the sea, you will reside. Thank you for teaching me about re-invention.”

She closed her eyes and kissed the gnome. The careful order of the waves was, even if ever so slightly, disrupted in its bored, regimented destruction of the land.

“You see, my smelly, grateful, and alien gnome, my hapless and happy sprite, my disgusting muse, the possibility to redefine power truly does exist”.


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