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Luminous Tendrils

A single ballerina steps lightly to center stage.

She pauses; fourth position.

Spotlit and radiant with painted lips.

A pirouette. Each bead on her dress dazzles and reflects the light just once.

As she spins to face the eyes, she disappears.

I thought covering 2,791 miles of highway would be hell but it is pure rapture. At 75 mph cruising velocity, I am crushing transcontinental time-space. Telephone poles twirl by and disappear, each rotation marking a standardized increment of time and distance. Another follows and begins its rotation. At freeway speeds, forms live and die to me in rapid succession and endless number. When the dancer has been seen from every angle, she disappears into the past.

360, the last number.

The filmy crinoline of her dress floats to the ground and crumples.

At a truck stop in the Mojave dust dervishes whirl, but no Icarian dance saves them from the catacombs. I am a light wave incarnate- at least until I run out of gasoline.

Another dancer steps onto stage and turns a pirouette in the same place.

Another dress floats to the ground and crumples.


The most heavenly destination the dust can aspire to is to fall, one among many, into the sedimentary layers that build the monumental pillars and cavern walls that rise patiently toward the sun, casting long shadows over the dust devils. This dust in its humility becomes caryatid to the celestial dome.

(endless procession of dancers and falling silks).

A tear from the eye of Taurus falls, snaking golden through the universe to tickle my eye in the Mojave. It streams and coils down my neck in the eternal weep of nuclear fusion.

Layers and layers of silk stack. They slip, fold, go through geologic processes of their own. Sedimentary silk becomes metamorphic silk becomes igneous silk. Old silk compresses into silk diamonds. Silk volcanoes rupture through silk stacks, spitting wild ribbons onto stage to dance in the light and then fall again.

The audience does not blink.

I braid my hair and smoke 1 Camel in the rain. The gray mounds pile up like the air filters that my aunt used to use to keep the air in her house clean. Every few months she would take them out to replace, and they would be blanketed in wooly gristle, the alchemical distillation of the last few months’ worth of air.

A crystal piñata cracks. Sugar and tamarind scatter.

Silkquakes rift and form never-before-seen colors for a New Age of Silk: yelloise, violeen, turquettes.

A siphonophore with buttery teeth slurps a salted yolk. The audience crunches Doritos that rain down in torrents like some warty Cool Ranch manna.

There is a sphere of Venetian glass where I deposit time in patient stacks of copper discs. The sphere can hold no light- the rays pass through the translucent membrane- but it will holds these tokens until their growing weight cracks the vessel.


Some Orthodox churches dye their Easter eggs red to represent Christ's blood, shed on the cross. The shell symbolizes his sealed Tomb, and cracking the shell is his resurrection from the dead.

How does it feel to be a fetal bird, emerging for the first time from the shell into a world of light? Do you tremble with vertigo, or do you let the sun pour down your throat in streams?

Lightning strikes the sand, mocking with the insouciant perfection of a vertical line.

Whispers ripple through the weave like brush fires.

A+HRRA award summer 2023

The Summer 2023 Arts + Human Rights Research Award will be open to submissions this summer (approx. 14:51 UTC June 21 2023 - 06:50 UTC September 23rd 2023). The topic of the Summer 2023 A+HRRA is AI, Computer Logic, and Human Rights. 


th_Eroses, an arts publication, is awarding $100 for a work of artistic / literary research that addresses or concerns human rights in conjunction with this season's topic, AI, Computer Logic, and Human Rights. The term 'research' here is intended to indicate the process of creation, exploration, and discovery, rather than the compiling of archival facts and/or materials, although the compiling of archival facts and/or materials may be a part of the process of exploration and discovery, or a part of the process of shaping the path or direction of discovery. This is intended to be an open-ended premise, to support the range of work that may occur in artists' and writers' unique processes. 


From the UN: 


"What Are Human Rights? Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination."


Successful submissions may, but are not required to, focus on investigative, process-based exploration and material discovery. Successful submissions may couple rigorous (or subjective) analysis with documentation of investigative, process-based exploration and discovery. Submissions do not need to be factual; forms of literary fiction, subjective expression, abstraction, choreography, and/or non-narrative presentations will be considered as well. Submissions in all languages and media are welcomed. 


The goal of this award is to amplify artistic voices that inquisitively and critically approach the pressing issues of our time, to create a habitat where a unique form of creative journalism can thrive, and to provide th_Eroses readers with artistic / literary insights into key issues.


Please note: If your work is submitted and selected for the award, you consent to the publication of your submitted work by th_Eroses now and in the future. Not all submissions will win the award; there may be one submission chosen, or multiple submissions, or none of the submissions. Selected submissions will receive an email of acceptance and next steps. 


Please submit work to with "Entry: Arts + Human Rights Research Award" in the subject line.

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