Contest: Orion (c.1955)

Utensils, old demonstrational videos of underwater lounges and forks, and knives growing purple urchins, growing from a pair of holes in The Reeling machines pictures of Frank Sinatra flickering curtains— Barely, as the elevator sinks Through the sludge — Zenith television flickers on in the elevator— the door opens — A suited figure named Orion steps slowly into the underwater Lounge— helmet close-up videos show on the Zenith television — on the seafloor abandoned science classrooms under the ocean, grade school equipment floats to the ceiling — tiny carp, and mackerel swim around the grade school — classroom. Octopus swim along the ocean floor— The figure enters from bubbles— sits down on the couch covered with mussels and kelp— The close-up of his mask is showing fully functioning stoves— and oven. A shot of Frank Sinatra making a plate of eggs and a pan of biscuits in the flooded classroom, floating. The elevator doors close, and power lines take the grey box away to the surface slow, Orion the diver shows a Victrola in a mirror spin a museum of dolls and marionette teddy bears from inside.

Dolls zigzag through the museums display cases, into cupboards, take stairs into closets, out to the streets, up through the hillside, into neighborhoods— In front of the mirror, the diver has placed the Victrola needle onto the vinyl by reaching his arms into the museum Through the Mirror. Complete darkness between the two televisions woven around— all of the lines of the mirror representing sounds, a convoluted map, drawn up from intersections where, in the total darkness, red lines pulse, roads switch on and disappear— and rain coming through gutters light up a shopping cart placed before a wooden door. Orion is sitting on a bed, blanketed in starfish, when he comes out from the darkness only visible in a sea of dolls, assorted sizes, filling the lounge.

Lavender flowers Wiggle from blooms and flow to the beach side— Blue sky comes in a wave, underwater, lava bubbles under a silver and gold boat floating above Orions’ bed. Outside, in the Mist a tightrope. The elevator comes down and stops, opens the doors. Frank walks out, looks at the clock in the science room at the grade school, and sees Orion the diver on the couch, growing starfish from his suit. Frank speaks bubbles, says his pocket watch has been broken for three days— He remembers back to the library. The clocks melting down the wall and onto the shelves of books. The Hourglass at the Museum had been shattered and left in its glass case. He bubbles the words turquoise, watches the Color swirl from his lips, the color bubbles that he pops, neon orange Sun floats, a cloud shaped as a red fox, Tangerine popsicles, sea foam and avocado trees, between his hair, slow- Frank climbs back in the elevator, and pushes the button marked Museum. The doors slowly let in television screens, large flat screens. He points down to the valley as the elevator ascends, the valley of Television screens, wristwatches, drooling into the sand. He gets to the door of the science lab, and wanders from abandoned classroom to classroom. He thinks of the color phtalo green. Frank begins to sing. In an old math classroom he finds a marionette and it is tedious dissecting its belly to find strawberries stitched inside. Watches shatter, swirling in his mind.




A tape recording plays from behind a closet door, owls hang in the rafters, letting out droppings onto the barn floor—

A doll Lays in A pile of forgotten dreams, where venomous spiders make webs around the mouth—

A tape recording plays behind a closet door. Frank Sinatra looks through the cracked pane glass window — the sound of rattling teeth plays from the tape — squids climb down the barn ladder, the doll arises from somewhere in the floor —

“Your smile, it seems perfumed.” The doll takes Frank Sinatra’s jaw into her grasp — his eyeliner drips, he pulls out a bouquet of blue flowers, they walk to a well, holding hands. The doll throws her blue flowers inside, and jumps in the well. Frank disappears to the end of the tunnel, and in the darkness she sees clocks curling. For the first time his body lifts up from the glass, and he floats.

A tape recording plays behind a closet door —

A serenade plays to the sleeping birds. Frank flies down the well, sees clocks in cases, drops of water tapping the faces —

The sounds of the clocks ticking rhythmically passed—





Zachary Scott Hamilton is the editor for Mannequin Haus. His work appears in The modern anthology of surrealism (Salo press 2016).



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